I sing, o Elena, an ode to you! I take an instrument and twang it,
it’s no harp, but I make a melody of this hum.
Let my song be water, flooding,
splashing your expectations.
Answer me with detergent:
your gasps will be soap bubbles.
Give this man what he’s looking for. Reciprocate.
Are you really looking at me, Helen?
Observe how I wade in this swampy terrain.
Poems make me mad as a fortune-teller,
a butcher. I offer my palm, you give me yours:
bloody raw meat. What I write is your future. And mine.
So, Elena, I’ll teach you! See me scrub out the blood
of desire, the sweat of dreams; I want clean white
images and metaphors.
Let’s have a division of labor and subvert it right away.
Now you teach me to love deeply, live a good life,
suffer and heal, try harder than I ever have.
When your voice returns to my ears, a crooked echo,
full of static and a new melody,
I’ll praise you, muse for the blessings
and for the urge to plunge my hands
into the dirty suds
of another poem.