WHAT I MEAN BY RUIN IS…
When there’s only condiments left in the fridge
and you join a free online dating service
so men will buy you dinner.
When you’ve shucked the night with the dull blade
of indecision and gulped down everything,
even the pearls.
When some old, left-handed love has left
your guitar strung backwards
and you can’t find any songs
for rain in its frets.
When you wake up next to the body
of your past and it looks ready
to wrinkle and bald.
When the last burn of summer is peeling
from your breasts and there’s nothing to husk
the pale, raw of new flesh.
When the woman who wears her hair
in the old way quits mumbling about Jesus
on the street corner and takes her salvation
pamphlets to a pauper’s grave.
When you’re too ugly to pray,
and the only voice
on the drunk subway wails
—from Rattle #35, Summer 2011