Lauren Claus

The air that leaves me comes to you

and back, an invisible post mortem

within a wordless, perfect science.

It tells of a being that turned inward,

a body whose death started from birth

with little tufts of lifeless keratin in hair,

a layering of light, unliving skin.

Your more specific substances pulsated

in you – benzene and beryllium, days

of silence and the sun that return to me

from your flesh. There’s no escape from

wind; your bodiless breath

follows me everywhere.

You said I loved quickly. Now you’re slow

as spinning stars – ones you forgot,

too bright and empty, put away above us.

Soon your breath might be like them.

One day I feel it will sublime,

sticking on a cleaned counter

(a surface that knows my hand)

like last summer’s oil. Oil bakes.

I’ll cut it out, place it on land

to let the sun sink it in.