To the boy who is suddenly surfacing and haunts:

Let me fumble with my house keys for a while.
          It has been a while since the last time

                    worship has licked its name upon moist windows and my knees
                                        have kissed the floors.

When you are realized, asphalt perspires and the streetlamps
                    find a way to congratulate me mockingly. I am waiting

                    for the closeness, the itch in my fingers for when you arrive, the thrums
          in the street, the drumming of the town’s

                              little drummer, proclaiming He must be here now!
                    I lied: I am not waiting. I’m barring as much as I could

          from the inside. Even the carpets now are
                    whispering The waltz might yet begin, the waltz might yet die

again. If I ask you to walk away, will you
          call on a deluge, screaming? Will you scream until I stop

                              asking you to leave? The chandeliers chant and I remember
                    having to remember you have yet to come. Soon
the storm comes; this house’s howling calms.

          When you knock, your first recreates
                    this house: its holy, its haunted, its haunting, its body,
                              my body. Begins to wake what is left of the wrecked

                              door, the crumbling porch, the Atlases we call posts.
                    Your hands wakes. Come in, please, would you like to

                              drink? What would you like? I can only offer
                              some tea, some coffee, the usual—

except it has been years and the cupboard is decaying.
                    I forgot how to offer

          what I have. What remains untouched revolts. We remain
                    aching for the stroke whose slowness blesses

                    whatever it may pass, whose passage blesses
                              whatever it may warm, whose warmth condemns

                              stillness. So: touch or revolt. Or both—this convulsion, this
                    resistance, ours. Will you hold? If I ask you to

          dance, will you be a jester, a deranged knave, a promise of unironic
                    laughter, the king in his preschool pajamas? Will you be

                              willing to be crownless, headless, spinning like the jaded
                    ballerina in a music box from long ago? I am not a lost child but lost

childhoods. I am the ogre mask, the drunkard elf, the flightless fairy
                                        whose ruin was forgotten

because unwritten. Let me teach you to dance, and you will
                                        be given whatever story you ask for.

          You answer: sip the dirt from under my nails, nibble
                    at my callouses until I am new again.
I don’t. Won’t. You still turn
                              new. Now the refusal only serves to make you

                              laugh. You hand me a multiple-choice question when your fingers begin
                    to traverse my skin: fangs, feather duster, ice pick, gaslighter.
                                        Shall I be grated, gnawed at, or dusted? Pierced or gaslit?

You near my spit like you would a decapitated
          mannequin’s limbs; I wear you like a ringing

                    in my ear. You dangle your feet, dallying with decay before nailing
a maelstrom to my dress and taking a front row seat. Hang me

                    on the mantelpiece. Sniff. You may smirk or sneer. You may
                              revel in this allowance. Dislodge fragrance from spillage. But let me spill

                    narratives of long ago rugburn: how you taught me friction in the midst
          of waking gargoyles and thunderclaps, how you taught me fiction

                              as we wrote and writhed and gasped and thrashed, how we crawled
          through murmurs, how you murmured protest after protest

                                        whenever I pleaded. I am not pleading now
                                        but waltzing. You are still in the front row.

What remains untouched revolts. We remain, we ache
                    for time. We let each other let this happen. Again I let you
                                        happen. The morning happens.

          We second-guess the dawn as we suck the wisps of prolonging. Let us
                              keep second-guessing. Already I give you the freedom

                                                                      to stay; take.