Henry Goldcamp — Ode to Dead Dog on Riverside

Tonight, I left my husband for the bad beach
because I wanted to listen to God.

My body is a cliché temple.
When it was young it thought

clitoris was the name of a reference book.
Now it contains the dead whose names

yell after a wet empty grave.
Each rotting molecule dresses in leather

and lace. That’s what I’m into nowadays.
I am no longer leashed, but wish to retrieve.

I wish to wrestle a log in the middle of rivers
and cuss the water. Let the currents translate

across my mouth of the south, both in gossip
and blowjob. Pour a nip of gin into misogyny

and it goes down easiest. My body is a temple
of fleas holding fine wines in a golden chest.

Floorboards of bone wheeze at each step.
Wood is for building.

Wood is for burning.
Wood lasts longer when given the silent treatment.

The opposite of procreate is concrete.
My body sleeps on a cot of affordable privilege.

In it, families are sleepy and hushed. Days
when I enter the cry room, I devastate myself

by watching the pain of some toddler, a queen
with soggy cheerios topped with diamonds.

She is so gross and beckons me to kiss her rings,
to bend the knee and pay respect to my future.

This is the trick if you ever want God
to ask you for your forgiveness.

My body is a temple of galena and agate,
my lead state. I am impossibly fat with math

keeping me to the dirt. I am gravity’s bitch.
My dreams are waterlogged, my intestines

decorate the bank. My paws are grass-stained,
my milky eyes fizz with tiny open moons.

I prefer honest faces to handsome ones,
begging for scraps over brute force.

This poem is a dream like all the others.
My hourglass hips shake out sand

from the crack of my ass. Finally, the bad beach
speaks: Olivia, each uncomfortable grain is

a tiny relic to a word you chose to unsay.