by Kim Addonizio

Kim Wednesday, "Pareidolia"

And then there was the man who said “You look fatter
with your clothes off” and like a fool I didn’t put them back on
but climbed into his bed beneath the little Tibetan prayer flags
and several images of Buddha haloed by a white light
I wished, at that moment, to dematerialize into,
especially when he asked me to get on top, but facing away from him,
so that I rose up and slid down looking at the knees and naked feet
of someone who, an hour ago, I’d found attractive—in a way, I realized,
it was now a blessing not to have to look into his eyes, but still,
being fucked backwards while facing a stain on the wall that resembled Florida
was not quite the encounter I’d envisioned
standing in the bookstore that the Beats with their Blakean visions
and holy passionate excesses had made famous,
and my mind began to wander in order to avoid being present
for whatever was going on down there, eternally, it felt,
and was that really his penis it felt like a speculum
as he groaned and I gazed at Florida thinking of orange groves
and all the nights in Pompano Beach my brothers and I played lighthouse tag,
dodging the beam that swept over the black sea and pale sand,
and of all the days I spent shirtless, climbing palm trees or squatting with a stick
over a washed up blue translucent Man ‘o War quivering in the wind
and of the time I dug a sand pit hoping to trap my crazy violent older brother,
anchoring the sharp swords of sticker plants upright in the bottom,
covering the hole with a blanket and just enough sand
and how was I going to lure him in there, maybe I could get him to chase me,
he was always chasing me, I could feel my anger
and the great happiness of impending revenge, imagining him falling in,
wishing I could cover him over and bury him forever,
while somewhere in the orange-scented light of a candle
in the universe behind me, my lover finished and I closed my eyes
and never, until now, turned around to look at him
sinking beneath the surface of the bed like a drowned sailor
tossed overboard from a great ship that centuries ago
rounded the cape and sailed on to another world.


Charif Shanahan