by gm

Jake Byrne


The Craigslist post requested two
boys: bushy-tailed, chipmunk-cheeked

pure hearts, yadda yadda. We struck
camp at daybreak in a hamlet

where Churchill’s voice is still
tonic as brandy. I love you but

we need to find clean water
and a flower that blooms

with the fragrance of mischief. I don’t or can’t tell you
about the men I think I’m kissing

before I’ve fully woken up. I’m not asking
for a love spell, just its shadow word: commitment.

When we speak of things worth doing
we’re not talking about risk, I’ve tried

Advil and the almanac,
stuck my dad’s gemsteel machete

into the mouth of your tributary
but the beach was needled with Irukandji stings.

And if I fall victim to ensorcelment? Visions
of other lives spent with other bodies,

the subtle glamers of crème de violette.
Consulted a friendly teenaged haruspex

and she ripped a wet fistful
of entrails, orange with Easy Mac.

This is, at best, a neutral omen.
But baby, we can make this work. I can do it

for you: be a conduit. Interpret
the letter of the lightning:

every thing
that enters exits

into undiscovered country.