the birds wind upward until the wrinkles in the sky
follow through your fingers' tracing—your finger nails slice the air
open, the clouds drip out like lemon juice wrenched
from the rind. i can reach up, stretch my neck toward Saturn
to taste the liquid that makes my lips pucker, your sour mash
that burns the fingernail you cut too close to your cuticle.
there's something rough about the Milky Way,
the way it swirls about—a saw blade, tearing the universe
in half, splitting space-time until a wormhole forms
and all the lifeless matter finds itself anew scattered across the stars—
even i was sucked in, my tongue wincing from citrus
here on earth: the state in which i took a good sharp paring knife
and made a white red giant give its final kiss goodnight.
there are no birds in space: there is nothing there;
no up for them to travel, and a wormhole is not what they have
here on Earth—they would fly upward
until they saw the earth again from the bottom
and fly upward again, like a film reel clicking before the cellulose rips
to show only the white light behind—the poor birds would never find
the white light from Heaven of any kind: they would keep moving
past the earth until their wings withered and they died
because there are no worms—early or otherwise—in the great beyond.
there are no fruit trees: no place for them to nest
or for me to find a sting for the tip of my tongue,
to make my lips crinkle. space is nothing but big
and big is only so frightening when it is the void that comes
with speaking love on the telephone.