my lover crushed the budding fruit in me
which ran from out my legs like currant wine –
that sweet unwelcome blood of atrophy
sat red upon her tongue as muscadine.
her cup full up she turns her gaze to flesh
to take from me her pound, then two, then five;
to rake thin fingers cross the scalp and thresh
my hair, like wheat, to pay some holy tithe
and clutch me like a candle through the night.
at morning light she pinches out the wick:
she spends me, bends me down as acolyte
to altars where her ash has settled thick
in lungs and throat and shallow-thrumming heart,
where all my lover’s love rends me apart.