Refuse to Swim

We have here a dog, harbour voiced, lashed off hungry shadows.
An uncastable vessel, it arrives under duress of real boats, this dog.

Then we have a dog and three things to do, like wind in a desert we pray to,
its bones stuck in a dog’s drying throat.
Morning collapses on the bench, lights up a joint.

A stoning to get rid of the war, and the four of us
try to take on the elbows of a cross, like Holi,
but dirty: morning, the city, seagull, and I.
I say this with a signal light’s urge to lose its job. I think of you

like a tequila bottle to the lips, the hot springs’ fumes drinking down stars.
I would say other things if I wanted to be kind.
I feel like I have to, he said, to hold to the language of one empire in face of another.
At night the arriving ships bellow like whalesong in a cactus’ sap where you are.
You gather gestures in a basket and they escape.

A chair speaks in riddles and a table’s denial is flat.
But the footstool is honest: even when it’s stored away,
it yearns to break down. The lockpick work of thieving
death from death, while tilapia meat begins to glow in the pan.

BIO: Hari is a poet and co-founder of Locked Horn Press.

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