I am yellow fingers swabbing
your face at dawn and a ghost
breath blown on your wife’s neck
when she’s alone. Just try and keep me
out. I wither houseplants,
settle in the little berries of your infant’s
lungs. Not even the spirits you pour
so generously will wash my phlegm
from the back of your throat.
That creeping premonition
that follows you, soot grazing
your cheeks like rotted snow?
That’s me. Go ahead and fire
your gun. Startle the ducks, all squawk
and wing. I thicken like cold soup.
I cling for weeks, streets you’ve known
your whole life turning strange
maze. Hands out, calling a name
I wipe from your tongue.