Wounded Soldiers

When we woke, the room glittered with wounded
soldiers, the sun imprisoned in prismatic bottles,
pale sweat slicked across your skin.
Intoxication perfumed the air: sour hops,
sharp liquor, cherry fumes of your hair.

We chose those bottles for their foreign names,
wild tastes, the fantasies on the front labels.
The silver-glint horn of a unicorn gazed down
from my bookshelf, fairies danced on my desktop,
bumbleebee on my bedstand, black widow
on my windowsill.

On the ground that morning, your clothes
strewn like casualties.
But even on the nights we didn’t drink a drop,
the morning found two wounded soldiers perspiring,
cold beads of frosty sweat sliding down
their glassy necks.

You told me you found nobility in retreating,
but I wish you would have held your ground.
I was ready to surrender at the next skysplitting
of your heart beating war-drum sounds.

I cling to every one of this sheet’s frayed threads
as if they were grenade pins.
When the mornings are gone, what will be left?
The absence of your warm imprint in my bed,
the seething absinthe of your whispers in my head,
the yesterday kiss of a wounded soldier heavier
than full, hollower than last-drop drained

Do we have to give up the fight just now?
Do we have to fight at all?
Can’t we just lie here? Can’t we just lie

a little longer?