Deal

On the calendar I marked the day you’d leave
with ring of coffee-stain.
A prophet shouldn’t grieve,
the angel said. She rubbed my eyes, amused.
The skylight broke
in a rush of feathers. I slept in the rain.

My first task was easy: naked, bruised,
I brushed doors with wreaths of spreading smoke.
Next she placed songs at my throat like stones— bloodglamour, blackwater, laurelsheen,
the opal heat of polished bones.
My sores healed, my tongue was free.
Glass roses bloomed at my lips
and blew before me into rooms, unseen.

Now I hold time like salt holds the sea.
I cough, and shrug, and the sky tithes a total lunar eclipse.

I’m breathing. Better than ever before.
(Though still today the sound
of a step like yours brought me bristling to the door.)
Nights, the streetlamp hums flat
as a star crumbles to snow—
there’s only so much light to go around.

I have made a better trade than that.
There’s nothing only lovers know.