Poetry & Prose

For a Portrait of Dorian Gray

I imagine loving someone whose
droning self-indulgence
could make me comatose,
and yet
I dream of her only
as I’m salted and brined by sterile hands

like the painter loved Dorian,
quietly
adoration sits upon my temple
to be contemplated only by those who
clip their cuticles
and sweeten their coffee overripe.

I’d love her as Henry loved Mr. Gray:
some pathetic creature trapped beneath wood rot I’d be
swirling in sour ocean,
flailing, disembodied, hypoxic, and yet
my heartbeat unequivocally intact

like a man loves himself.

And years later upon my reflection,
“Love,” I would realize, “is the miracle
that occurs between train tracks and tepid breath
as we lay ourselves barren
at each other’s mercy.”
Good god,
best pray that train will stop.