Graduating From Eternity
by John Goode
She was made of dice and black mascara,
and she roamed the streets in a cocktail napkin.
She was no lover. She hated nearly everything:
billboards, strollers, iced tea, mutual funds.
She had a mouth like a sword fight,
all curses and water and clashing teeth.
When she pissed the electricity went out
in three apartments.
On nights of extreme ecstasy
she was labeled a heretic by passing monks
who tortured pillowcases dreaming of her
The streetlights held her in staged awe
and cars roared around her dripping oil.
When she cut her hair
fiends raided hospitals for signatures
and young poets swore into their scarves.
Her skin was like the breathing snow
alley cats lick to slake their newspaper throats.
She worked as a waitress beneath the Republican
penthouses that stalked the night with flat screen eyes.
She was in love with a man who sold the dimple in his chin
and wore wristwatches with electric pentagrams inside.
She bartered for fruit in the farmer's market
and her eyes suffered like starving bellies -
I could see the ribcages in her mind.
It isn't easy, nothing ever is, she told me one day,
as we shared a cigarette above the grenade hatchings.
I could almost hear the seams in her delirium unsnapping,
minute by minute, the way she hungered for a boat
was nearly obscene. Escape, escape, she whispered
like a litany.