ELEGY WITH SHOTGUN by Anna Claire Hodge
Once you warmed the shower wall with water
before pressing me against it. Some nights,
the bed was feverish heat. You, a man
burning, as the sheets twisted into peaks
not from our lovemaking, but nightmares.
So similar to the snakes in mine: centipedes,
the threat of their endless segmenting. Breaking
apart like mornings you left me for food or family,
the wife and daughters towns away who will never
know my name, theirs on your lips in a way
that gave me pause, that their conjured bodies
might leave the room first, let me have you fully,
before I leaned to kiss you. Tomorrow, I will drive
to the ocean, past the fish camps and souvenir
shacks, to the town where soon my sister will be wed.
She will tell me that she, too, once loved a man
whose brain burst into lace as he vowed himself
to trigger, hammer. She will turn as I enter the room,
careful not to shake loose our mother’s veil
bleeding from her blonde hair, same as mine.
And if I must look away, it will be to the grey
of our wintry piece of ocean, as I imagine a swim
so far from land I might find you whole
and floating, no barrel poised in your gorgeous mouth.