Two Poems

Poetry / John Allen Taylor

Sleep Song

My mind hums with color, the smell of salt water out my window. I take two Ambien as sacrament. Water, not wine. Wait for sleep. My body grows heavy. Muscles like cold clay. They pretend to move. To hold my bones as I think they should. Mouth of sand. And in my left hazel eye, a corona of wheat fields. I am heat tonight. And I remember the multitude who love me. You say get up. I say come back to bed. Let me rest my back against yours. Let’s exist in these threads of suffocating gravity. Your hand on my hip. My hands reaching. We can be here for a thousand years. Not rested. Not tired. I’m sure my sternum is stone. You bring the mallets, the chisels, the picks. Let’s unearth me from myself.

Sleep Song, Revisited

It’s August, & the street lamps ignite
the rise & fall of your chest, your bare
hips by mine. You unearthed me, found me
petrified. Remember, you broke me open.

My hands know your shape, draw you
from you—what bound, unbound. Here:
the camber of your feet, your serrated spine,
the copse of your ribs. I memorize you

with my lips, rub through every seam
of us—listen, I don’t care for the nacre
but for the grit within. You showed me
how to earn this. I will.

John Allen Taylor’s poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Booth, Faultline, The Cossack Review, The Boiler, Dialogist, Devil’s Lake, and an anthology of Spokane, WA poets called Railtown Almanac, among other places. He currently lives in Boston, MA, serves as Redivider’s poetry editor, and makes strong, bitter kombucha.