for Ty

this poem is unholy, scarcely a drop
of suffering to be found. angels protest

terrified, don’t fly
but dive through clouds of smoke

trying to occupy space. i am merely
graceless, caught

like a spiderweb in your lashes.
when you break my fall

you are calm as a fruit stand in new york
& maybe as strange. the gunslinger

effect deduces that in a duel
the shooter who draws first

will lose, so be careful

what you’re good at.
i was born gripping pearl

handles, piercing mirrors
like a cardinal breaking glass

upon seeing its reflection.

once, i saw you & didn’t blink
until the sky bled daylight

lips slick with expired moon.
i’ve shed slabs of flesh

like spent shells from lonely snipers
who graze azaleas to spare their targets

but i would savor even the skin
you pluck from your teeth.

when a sunflower is full of seeds
it will bend its head

to ease the long trip
home. this seems almost joyful

letting go, like the dead
butterfly you preserved

in a plastic sleeve only to dream
a gale of wings ringing you

a halo. sleepless as a finch
in a snowstorm, you filch

the dark focus from magic hour
reduce the sun to a flickering

votive kissing your shoulder.

if you move
even a little i will inhale

the tender planet of your head
tuck its damp mess

beneath my tongue
& scatter your curls

like buckshot across the night sky.



Anthony Thomas Lombardi