We were meant to meet at the Desert's Martini Rock,
that holy of holies, that colossus. The sun burnt our backs
as we turned toward Baghdad. Babylon's swinging
paradise waved goodbye. You called light light.
You named the lamp, said my love is a lion-share.
I aped you. No rib was so talkative. You said,
Be quiet and listen. Honey's being made.
So I sat down with a good book, oldest story
there is: cities burning. Masts of salt sail the Sinai
away. It's fate. I thought I had a witness but
I'm all there is. We stopped by the Sahara Club,
cocktail before Genesis. When I fall down
drunk, when I seize, stop me from swallowing—
Promise me we'll meet here, say Valentine's
of each year. Each year we'll drag in, an unplucked
splinter in your eye. A jet will buzz over. I might
hold you but Baghdad's so hot that time of year.
I would rename the chasm. I would rename the thrush,
but kismet tucks its fingers in my mouth. One dead root
caused this. One sweet too many kills. Tear it out.
I'll suck gas, won't feel a thing. Sleep, sleep, there, there.
You'll tell me to groove out to the soft rock, creation-
lite, easy-listening, barely breathing. Across the abandon
brush catches fire. Witness. It's your voice I hear.
Lesley Jenike is a doctoral student at the University of Cincinnati. Her chapbook won Permafrost's Susan Blalock Prize in 2006, and she has poems in or forthcoming from Verse, Court Green, Pool, 32 Poems, and Brooklyn Review.