I am pacing my whorehouse heart

The exit is barred. Its walls drip too bright
perfume in the parlor, musky Indian
sandalwood, something indefinably sour
in the halls. Every bedroom door is open.
As I pass, there I am again and again contorting
in the oddest shadow and redlight sheets, twisted
beneath legs clenched around necks, soles of feet
pressed together praying over backs
and sweating heads. The moans mine,
the deepest loneliness of pleasure, the sighs
as black as bottomless throbbing. Skin
slapping, suction sounds cradling shame
like a fatherless babe. I wonder how
to escape, why doorknobs lie
in corners, why windows are nailed,
how to tame the tongues of my body
lapping at flames in any eye that sees.
I would take the fire, if I could, and burn down
this house, spread ashes of desire across my face,
walk on knees through town and wail.

2007

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