« Molly Felth | Contents | Katie Condon »

Sean Thomas Dougherty

Excuse Me I Have Something to Ask You Already Remember This Unfastening We—We Pay the Rent Everytime We Breathe

You spread your legs what umbrella do we open

I enter the rain.  To say oranges is to say a kind of light.
In faint shadow, chime, she is a library full of books we haven’t

Chime of breath? Chime of days death,
But the light of, but the light of your dark skin

The triumph you I who speak, everyday your pills,

you were—

In the dark I no longer keep a clock. To say that you are missed.

how the heat
Broke that winter we huddled by the stove, we slept with her

between us;

when people try & talk I pretend nothing is missing—


Something is wrong with me to—

But for you, anything

You are the stitches in the seams of  every sentence I—


The ripped veil—


The black orchids,

The black orchard of our limbs we wandered at dusk orchards we Were—


The streets I


Alone has one O but booze has two,  so does roots booted

Tattooed  temporary  trouble


The two O’s of sorrow

Filled with rain.   To collapse in laughter soaked.

I stare at the stopped clock,


All past tense remembers


There is a farm outside of  town we used to drive to & park by

            the fallowed fields


She is an Andalusia rhyme, our own exile


Soaked in laughter.


Junkies & boasted stereos, kleptomaniacs & card counters, unemployed accordionists playing & drinking Jinn.


She is the  stoop voices that whisper from the stoop as we fuck,


The  12th Street train tells us the A.M chime—





Through the hallways, our daughter’s diminished chord.  

Sunlight on everything.   What did we sing?


The long summers of  sirens screaming streets of rivers, fish

            flopping on the shore

Of some flophouse door, begging to score.   Who is an object or a



Temporarily unemployed, unsound, insane—


Another one of your ex’s boys I did not cap.  Glock in a back



The clothes Crystal swiped,


How many of us the shadows swallowed 

Piece by jagged piece.  Not even a chalk mark or yellow tape to

            mark the dead.


The wide mouths of the street with its razor teeth,

Spray painted.
Jorge sharpening his blade at the barbershop

Of long knives,

A daughter in the city of barking dogs lilacs & magnolias, the

beautiful dust motes.

Sunlight is a daughter is a city of stray dogs,

The pregnant girl at the Country Fair with the quart of liquor & a

box of menthols.

A daughter is an aria from a broken window.

Love is another word for leaving, more than a temporary tattoo our

Daughter licks,



The moon she swallows.


I woke up at two o’clock to the sound of you weeping,

The pain from the bandages, your weeping wound.

The train of pain that will not pull into the station
Blank sun  of my face at dawn.  For love is a grocery cart  I push


Behind the woman I saw limping like you down the supermarket


There is no God but suffering, or is God simply the prayer


Against suffering?, the space when breath meets tongue.

 I speak as if conducting a quartet of cellos. 


I ask for that much low noise.  When we used to be drunk


So nothing mattered except the dark origami our folded bodies

Shaped.  I followed the woman out of the supermarket,


She got in her truck & drove to her parallel life.  Her eyes

Were blue not brown, her mouth a bit full but for that.


 Even our daughter called after your name  She balanced her bag

Of bread and cheese, milk, Hambuger Helper. She had a bumper


On the car that said something about guns.  I used to kiss

Your wrists, your palms, I used to kiss your eyelids like coins.


Our daughter kept calling her voice the name I write to you still—


« Molly Felth | Contents | Katie Condon »