Fretwork

What comes moors itself like a claw or core.
A child’s shoe built into a wall, dressmaker’s dummy
mute and white among the trees. What comes
knuckles sulfur and ulcers our remains.
What comes combs at me and at my body.
Wants more. Gives less. Its edges knock.
It has medicine that almost masks a cure.

I should be more concerned, I know. It goes
leaking its dark fluid. It goes mistaking me
for who I am. It goes for broke, but thinks to succeed
as a grimoire or prayer. It spits and stretches
its root-like limbs. It crouches like a collarbone
in its god-like niche. The caverns between our ribs
thread with snags, thin like blood; what
we had was a rag or scrape, was run or fat.

What we had dug at the mud of us
with a rake, salted the hull of us like a sail,
hunted us like foxes among the black-eyed swans.
The heart becomes a notch on a belt worn loose.
It has a burn like touch and with the wonder
of the blessed. The fists of it silk at the arteries
of us. What aftermath sharks out from under
its reef. Barely eats. Barely starves.