The sparrow slides into the new store.
A wall beside the street, it is where the newness
That is my body rests.
I put my nose in it.
Love, the orange fever.
Apartment of waltzes, I am naked with
The once girl. My mother feeds the starlings,
But death grows. Vicodin and fire
Escape. Uptown the village
Turns to plastic. Candy clouds dress strollers
In death. All the people pushed. Light just
It was the middle of the end,
A story about to move.
Teeth past holes, disaster pickled.
I cannot afford it: loving home,
A block and a bic.
My throat hurt her belly, that I sang.
There is no place left, the memory
A calamity box.
And it is night, the shell breaks . . .
Nothing but blood coating the city
World, I shut and wobbled. Slow-going.
Self-steeped. A black cat
Licked the pavement. I wanted to think
It didn’t miss its ear, or that water under-
Dulled the sloe engine.
Light slugged closed in oranges.
Garbage garage, what sound dropped
Into: beautiful bubbling skin the sky did scar.
Once that water was the cream.
Tires rubbed their skin against the street.
I wanted the floodless
Foodless animal, to be sleep’s tack,
So pressed. Halogen slurry.
The leg under the name of the loved.
Sinking was sight how I rode. Each pull
Was alone: loved—but seared light—to thicken
Luck. When a claw entered a god gull.
A knot of hair hung lowly behind it. The drug
Turned the animal into another. I try
To unarch this, the fold made secret by so telling.
Its death—god’s—silvered in the median.
I wanted to be one of the men, hanging
There, listening for mine hunger so to fall.
I have lodged an arm.
Climb up. (And bend to block the day.)
Fringe and lint cling: I smoke it,
smoke it. Become girl that girl
eats, that color on the wall or color
thrown down to starve towards.
(On the street, which lay a storm.)
Lint bubbles where static tops
the thought of.
(And ten kiss to stop the light.)
The memory’s chopped and screwed.
I flint across time’s face.
The room is a garden I am not inside in.
Stable topped up with dust.
It’s an accident.
Spin the bottle.
(Paper bag on long black hair,
what summer heat’s tied back from.)
I ask for a fire.
She brings her burnt shirts.
I smell disaster on the pink water, disaster on
the water bed.
Anne Marie Rooney is the author of Spitshine (Carnegie Mellon University Press, 2012), as well as two chapbooks. Her work has been twice featured in the Best American Poetry anthology. A co-founder of Line Assembly, she currently lives in Baltimore.