What You Are

I want to write you a poem that unravels
from the gut, hurls itself towards you
like a slap across the mouth. Let my words
unleash themselves upon you like dogs 
looking for a fight, like seeds bursting
from overripe pods. Let every vowel
explode in your face like cruel laughter,
every consonant pronounce itself
like death into your ear, every comma

trip up your speech, every full-stop
prevent you from finding your way
home. I hope you were not expecting

sweet nothings, loves songs, cherished
clichés: the heart that triumphs over
adversity, finds strength in the adoring
eyes of a child, realizes that we are all
not so different after all; surely you are
not so naïve, not thinking I am going to turn
this into some love poem, waxing lyrical
about secrets whispered between sweethearts,
or about hands held on crowded trains
at dawn. Or about you, as if you take root
at the base of my spine, fingers climbing
each vertebra one by one. This is not

some ode with your name on it. I want
to write you a poem that drives a bullet
through all your beliefs, plagues you
with your own reflection, shatters every
illusion like bricks through a window
pane: let it stir the birds in your chest
so hard they burst through your flesh
in a spectacle of sound and despair. I
want to write you a poem that lingers
on your breath like cigarettes, stings
your eyes like salt, its fingers pointing
unflinchingly: This is what you are.