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Nina (2)

Charles Jensen

To be clean
is too easy: letting the danger in,
drinking the tire smoke
for the rip it carves in your throat—

that's love. To go there,
every day, knowing full stop you will be
broken just a little more,

a little more dirt smudged
outside the lips, the blood baking
slightly hotter in its cast-iron vein:

I was never found by a lover.
They only complicate the game, place the safety zone
a little deeper

in the skin, and the chase of dandelions
gone to seed is the guess: when will she make landfall?

Who warms the breeze? And when she
shoots up, which of the stars
will be first to nip the desperate bulge
of her calves shaking off something

prehistoric? That sinking feeling in the gut.
The dirty disappointment my lover wears to find me,
wasted, the flutter of my eyelids kissing junk
and sending their irises to another field.

And the last kiss—
the lipsmack that always breaks us apart.

Charles Jensen

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