Alan Reade

i thought i saw
            dark smoke curling
from behind your text messages
                        but it was the sun on my screen

and i thought i spied a cry for help
            stitched into the sleeve
of your vest
                        but it was one of my stray threads

right before you arrived
            i hid my wallet
under my socks in my sock drawer
            turned all my mail upside down
            and when you lay next to me
                        pretending to sleep
i kept one eye open and on you
                        like a predator hidden from view

somebody help me
because i can’t figure you out
            no decoder ring
                        no anything

somebody translate
            why you’re here again
            why i’m here again
but trapped in skin

later
during the night
            i thought I heard your pulse ticking an S.O.S.
                        but it was only the heater
            turning on and off
                        in time with each icy gust

finally I fucked you
            knowing you would leave afterward
but did I pick up a hidden message
            for i can’t help it
                        in your final sigh?

when i was seven
            i burned a plastic toy
                        on the spotlight for our christmas tree
            it bubbled and smoked
i screamed help me help me
            everything is on
            i can’t turn it off