I Heard You the First Time  


by Michael Robins




I’m drinking & the room is drinking 


gray sky into the ground. Gray sky



& you smolder like a paper lantern,


the terrible glow in which we heed



half our minds. Terror isn’t brutal 


exactly, some tree in fear of degree.



In fact, you glow astoundingly sober 


where I’m thinking of John Wayne 



on fire, hunger inside the hayhouse


& two sticks rubbing in a matchbox.



I am drinking & I find despair again


flashing whitened teeth, whispering



sweet promises for the light ahead. 


I want to timber your effects on me.