Candiru


1.

Not the horror

     of the thing itself, but

  the companionship,


the sleekness swimming

     in water’s private

  robe. Imagine a fisherman,


up to his waist in current.

     Imagine Brazil, mire

  slicking the mouths of


the vampire fish.

     Translucent as pain, they

  wiggle up your shorts,


provoked by needle mustaches

     like visions from Dante.

  Open the blood ark,


blind child. A tandem

     world twitches

  for the suckling at its source.


2.

Father, now there is this

     between us.

  Between the house


and the river, a row

     of teeth, crows wheeling

  in the white sky.


I played Sheikh all day

     with my scabbard

  cutting my legs,


and after school, when the TV doctor

      rubbed me good in my room,

  I slithered as no creature


who’s licked his own lips

     and tasted the house, the river,

  the delighted crows.


3.

What is that murmuring below

     the freezer’s buzzing,

  before all time has shut off


for who knows how long,

     your face in a square

  of arctic mist?


Circling the kitchen

     tiles, your father

  bedded in your heart pulls


a coverlet over him like

     a bratty child. The body

  doesn’t remember water


in the night that surged

     with tiny teeth.

  Yesterday at the party,


a song hiccupping upstairs,

     a girl dead to touch

  beside you. Pale little fish,


breathe, did you

     hang your head in

  her breasts?


4.

South, father. I am going

      to mud where

  the women you loved


bathe with open mouths.

     Sometimes the wind

  is hot and full of skin


I fight through walking

     from the front door to the car.

  Over the riverbank, the trees


plump with sap, the sap

     in places dribbling

  gold, flies cribbed there


with their working mandibles.

     Dad, who was supposed

  to live in your palace,


eating itself from the inside

     as we nailed down

  the flooring?

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