Patina: A Triptych

24-hour service, a woman.

Tonight, the sky is read
as woman. It is 3 AM. The sun has not
befriended the sky in hours. Regrettably,
a red stain (name it: blood, menstruation, the failure
of sperm to saturate egg, said again:
the failure of woman to invite man into her body, to penetrate
one        solitary        lonely         fretful        egg: yes,
blood) has summoned a woman from the heat
of a tongue she could sink her body in.
It is 3:00 in the morning.
The blood that swelters her stomach is not
(like) the sky swelling night.

Three teenagers, 24-hour service.

Teenagers sit on a sidewalk, clothed
in smoke and asphalt. It is too
early to ponder desperation,
the veins of place. Loneliness,

here, is a placemat
for boredom, a bloat of violence, not
(unlike) the moon pressuring the sky.
Their eyes, unnamed stars or
icepicks. It is three a.m.

A cigarette’s ash falls, unprovoked,
into the night’s sky. There
is no wind to lift
and float the ashes, no
brushstroke will transcend
cancer into the relentless
beauty of dust.

No. It is three a.m. The sky is red as
red. Three teenagers, dressed in silvers
and blacks, sneers and cigarette
ash, fold into a sidewalk.

24-hour service, woman prowled.

Teenagers, sticky as asphalt, salty
as smoke, follow her, dogs (im)pulsing
from heretic blood. They tread their tar,
leave it sticking, as evidence,
on boxes, metal shelves, a wrench.

She heads to hardware, selects a weapon.
She feels weathered, races from aisle to aisle,
forgets how she arrived in these betweens.
Has she provoked these teenagers
or they her? The difference

between daybreak and 3 AM
can kill her. She walks the outline
of her body through the aisles, grabs
white sheets, hanging name tags, a stopwatch.
The woman is a woman, and the boys,
boys. What will happen to her
in Greensburg will ruin her chances
of love, will violate her skin, paint her
body the swollen white lie of sky
.  end