The room has been cleaned and straightened. Absent of dust and cosmetic wear the decrepitude of furniture and appointments is denuded. Cobwebs still haunt high in corners. Vacuum tracks pass beneath the bindle still in front of the portal now full of morning haze. Lipid sweat accumulates on the oilcloth and runs into a waxing stain on the carpet. Jack hauls it two handed across the floor and in feeble arc swings it into the toilet. Blood and toiletwater rails up its pleats. Toilet paper wadded to his crotch is bloodsoaked through. He rolls it into various shapes: a ball, a bottle, a sort of egg-cup. The remaining clotted dregs he squeezes tight in his fist leaving peaked waves of his grip. They dry, set aside on the desk in an ornate cake. The sheet at the top of the bed was folded over the rayon blanket like a tourniquet bound across a sleeping child. The door is turquoise. Across the room the color flickers like burning salt. Jack sits hard with arms crossed at the built-in desk. A space of still air around him that is the shadow of the skin, the sagging in of the skin, a contraction whose spectrum runs from preening to starvation, from devotion to neglect, cannot be seen in the unveiled mirror over the desk. His framed hollow face: a brown skull in a vitrine. I don’t say this. This is silence. From the realm of emptiness a space drips dry in my heart, and therein a crescent moon nestles, above which is a citrine syllable, pft. Its cavern expands to fill my body with light, cleansing my willful obscurations. In the mere contemplation of intimacy, vividly and perfectly manifested, I myself become your body, colored a mild green, having one head and two hands. Your right hand I hold to my chest, your left I clutch a dry stick pen, its nib beside my ear. You sit in the flattened posture of royal attention, your two feet bound together in a sheet and your head ornamented with raven feathers blown from their solitary marble biers in high canyons. Light radiates forth from the seed, pft, upon the dry light of the moon. Those rituals were not meant to generate your slender body, nor could they sustain it, but rather they evoked and employed its timid power, and in your absence, even in your presence, to revere your benignity and youth. He doesn’t say this. This is silence. The bedspread is frayed and worn. Black, red, yellow, green, blue, and white stripes are interrupted by tufts of batting. Loose plastic quilting sways. Jack extracts long threads from apocryphal needle puckers On the desk in front of the blood cake he fiddles with the thread. He lays out a diamond, vertices kinked in the warmed plastic by his thumb and forefinger. He arranges several more diamonds into various patterns on the desk then throws them back over his shoulder to the bathroom floor. I don’t say this. This is silence. If something was not at hand, or was defiled, or if I manipulated you with a mind clouded over: may you recall me with tolerance. If my devotion was under the sway of defiled thoughts, if I was drowsy or distracted, if the implements of my idolatry lacked tenderness, the offerings were impure or too few, my cleanliness was suspect, if I was unable to follow the ritual – I ask for your toleration toward my faults. I ask you, right now, empower me to subdue my cryptic tendencies that this obscurity may arise no more.