Laws of Conservation
Does the river, after
it’s come apart,
still hold the drowned
hand’s tremble, still
reach for sky or branch
or oar? Delicate sweat
of a delicate hand,
tease of hair before
the rope makes its fist—
music, time, whiskey
flower and decay.
Night is an open mouth.
Breath minnows the water,
whispers leaves as if
through lace
to some forbidden ear.
Maybe the trees
remember that fruit,
the water its dew-
washed down. Maybe
water could return
that skin’s last itch
to the lips that glisten
behind the ear.
Wish of every silence,
every sigh, breath
that’s passed, that’s
passing—that pleasure
hangs forever.
Memory, is anything
this cruel? 
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