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Read by Martin Cockroft

Say sepulcher and then we will make love —
our body’s balance broken by a touch,
a tremor slight enough to raise the dead.
Call me strange for the comfort I find
in any coffin’s chance to forever rest.
Allow me to die slowly in your hospital,
even from afar. This is my guitar:
blue, purple, red, the elephant’s kneebone
making music it won’t ever forget.
Five wooden Buddhas sit beside our bed.
One dressed in beads from this year’s Mardi Gras.
Undressing means we will open Heaven’s gate.
Your nakedness is my cosmic headdress,
which I wear on our starry, tongue-fueled flights
through the cosmos, fatigued to phosphorous —
white-hot and burning bright the God we call to.
There’s something to be said for how you come
and go, particle, wave, the icy slope
without beginning or end. Say it again.
Say how the lightness of being in love,
comes with a paper bed,
and matches.

A Pennsylvania native, Michael P. McManus has lived in West Monroe, La. since 1986. Before that he served in the Navy. However, after sustaining injuries to his left leg during a training exercise, he consequently suffered blood clots as well as a pulmonary embolism. It was not until the late ‘90s that he began to self-study and write poetry—in no small part to honor his Nana who, before her death, told him she wanted a poet in the family. His poems have appeared in Louisiana Literature, Louisiana Review, Rattle, and elsewhere. His first book The Buddha Knot is forthcoming from Batture Willow Press.