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.