Four Poems from Bathwater
Michael Hurley


You are elsewhere and the colors of houses make it different,
or colors dissolve in water and change the water’s color.
They are carving letters into the hillside with lines of white stones.

He sings: You can’t make / just any-
                                      body / grateful.

Always moths. The house is always cold and usually in Pittsburgh.
Always moths and the redhouse whose windows make a face.
We can only really ever know the skin of one another for certain.

He sings: But sometimes / you can.

Something cripples vine-like, aspiring.
Something shifts like the second-person,
twists gently under gallery lighting.
The termites can sense a candle through concrete,
                                                    and so you whisper lightless.

Under here, he sings, it’s all made of glass.

See how alone the living can make us: the coins on the dresser.
In many paintings, Mary doesn’t faint until they take Him down.

Something brittle is leaving its eggs in this house’s thinnest cracks;
something brutal, even, intends to try to live here.

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