to whom it may concern

the couch grunts —

adorned with flecks of irritation

and flushed cheeks

[you remained collected]

gleaning heavy armor

a safeguard from pierced mutterings

careening in your direction

knifed with high inflection

[you remained collected]

hoisted my hitching breaths

while shrouding your own

poised in prisms

of scrambling expressions

and leather bands

[you remained collected]

arms suspended in air

barricade deflecting bullets

tufts of grey strands pinched

with time led astray

and footholds that

can no longer support you

and for that, i have balanced

the word perdon between rivets

of throttled words

have painted it in my undertone

have carved it onto my tongue

have swallowed it in thickets

of out of tune harmonies

for fear that it would part my lips

i have worn it on my skin

but not in my eyes

[you still remained collected]

iron lips

wind pricks on skin

like teeth skidding across highways

and i grit my teeth and murmured

don’t

gnashed teeth and curled fingers

left wrinkled marks

and i held my heart in golden afternoons

and wondered when your breath

punctured the ridges of my strength

i kept asking god why i was not

made of inlaid stone

why i could not climb along the brow

of steep hills

i asked him why he tied

gnarled roots around my feet

why he coursed sputtered sighs

within my veins

in the end

i was made of ruffled sheets

and crimson gasps

i saw winter’s knuckles

whiten against heavy skies

coiled whispers lodged themselves

along the faults in the pavement

and wondered

why