“Listen, even a lullaby can bleed.” — Osip Mandelstam

Say my name like the last bright syllable
of olive in a martini glass, your tongue

an eel deranged with moonlight
squiggling at the bottom of a gasoline-

dark sea. I’ve tested all the condoms,
filled them with champagne, imagined

a tiny house inside the reservoir tip
where unborn children catch fireflies in a wet field,

their fingers pulsing with light
every time we play Pull-Out Roulette

or the latex doesn’t break, a choreography
of blackout and bioluminescence plagiarized

from an oyster’s bristled sheen. Love, we are ancient
as the first people who learned to screw standing up

against a pine tree. Only your murmurs can staunch
the fissures inside me. Touch me like an assassin

strokes the steps of a church. Say my name
until I glow, engorged and radiant

as a tick boasting her blood-swollen
hunger without shame.

Kendra DeColo