There is a film on me, mostly
Just the dirt and smog clinging to the sweat on my skin;
My own custom shellack to keep my sheen glossy but
There is nothing to be done.
Shit, maybe one more backhand swipe across brow and temple,
I found another baby wipe at the bottom of the pouch.
Sticky, there is no other word for it my summer is so sticky,
And the words people say to me are foreign molasses with jet lag
In mouths fenced with teeth bleached from the sun
What with lips agape always to smile, sneer,
Trip into something in the middle.
When we are off the bus
I can hear the words still dripping out of the windows
Passengers and messengers with eyes pressed to glass,
The younger ones letting the sticky syllables dribble out down
From their puffed cheeks and pressed lips, kissing panes
To cut the distance between mouth and mouthed-at,
Filling it with parodies of love letters in languid tongues of bright new sound.
Sounds like my feet crunching leaves and
The sound effects of a confused cat.
These words that I do not know
The vowels sound like questions about crickets and
What it sounds like to bite into a carrot
Or a village,
If I were England.
The soliloquies of neighborhood mothers may or may not be
The harmonies of Saturn’s rings staying in balance or
The rhythm in the chug of the train I took here.
Five hours I listened to honeysuckle on dewy mornings,
For the girl beside me was telling a story
That I will never know.
It sounded like it might take place near there,
Because it sounded lush and green and like the rain kissed it every day.
She used words with sand and sticks
caught in the letters,
and the breaths between her sounds reminded me of postage stamps:
all the stamps on all the letters I’d need
If I were to speak and be spoken to, where my
words and chugs and rainy crickets of mouth sound
would not be an island of Pacific understanding.