On leaving, my lover

unbraids soft neck garlic, detangles

the hairs with amateur cook precision to avoid


flakes, crumbles. The upstairs neighbour is running

a bath for her disabled son. He is nowhere, as am I.


I sink my hands into bags of amaranth, sea salt,

dusk. Fluorescent kitchen light fills my mouth. It’s time


to get scrubbed clean. Rubber ducky’s here. Man’s best friend

is a stainless steel knife no matter how you hold it.


My lover uproots green sprouts, pinwheels cloves

in perfect countertop ordinance. Through the window, the son


arm-wrestles sunflowers and crowns himself yellow. Decapitation

rings false for the blind. Something rises


in my throat—half anticipation, half hunger

pangs. They will leap out like frogs on the drive home.


At the door we enter a holding pattern. My lover’s words

are palindromes I interpret in slow, limitless ways.