Linoleum

By Daniel Manfra

The look of linoleum reminds me
how we held you down,

squares, lines, flecks
of color feathered

with dust and
a brazen light—

my fingers pressed your
collar bones like piano keys,

the sweat of your brow
close enough to smell.

This is a tongue
I must have said,

the wet flesh making
its desperate convulsions,

twisted movements and
waves of rising vowels.

A helix of your hair
on the backs of my fingers,

the gathered molecules
of fear in your eyes—

a nurse’s needles
filled you,

daffodils withered
on the walls.

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