Various and Sundry Poetry

any small safety

inspires its own catalogue
of purges.

last week it was
the photographs.

a box holding ten years's worth -
pictures of someone else's kids, mostly,
or flowers or cracks in the pavement,
all strangely anonymous landmarks
which spoke to no geography in particular.

but there was a gary in my closet, too.
english gary i met on my way west
from sydney. tall, ludicrously hunky gary
i saw bent over a pool table
at a cheap hostel in the blue mountains
holding a cue stick, looking like
the traveler i wanted to become,
all strut and swagger.

beautiful, dark haired gary who racked 'em up
when i dared him to a match,
who ate the meal i made him afterwards,
who said "fancy a walk"
and what it really meant, later,
was the two of us, fucking in the hostel shower
standing up against each other under the spray
then pushing back against the tiles
then slipping back into clothes
then slipping back into separate rooms
then into separate lives,
and eventually,

luckily i kept the photo of us,
a hike we'd taken the next day
under the auspices of togetherness,
although post-coital we were awkward
as latin noun declensions,
already unraveling into obscurity.

he was still there, though,
buried under san francisco florals
and closeups of chicago.

and there i was, too
fumbling my way
through a dark, australian night,
nervous and sad and longing terribly for home,
longing for any familiar geography
and in the brief fluorescence of a shower stall
bending into the strange, anonymous eddy of another body
for any small safety
i might find there.