Man

If he’s husband, then he’s someone you don’t know.
Have you met another form, dark corner of a modern catastrophe.
His name and he’s Satan’s right hand,
Belial or Beelzibub,
a curse on all your crops
because there’s never been a more impersonal God.
If he’s forgotten the map
then he’s someone you can trust,
eyes like dusk,
and sometimes you want to burn yourself
and sometimes
he lets you,
provides the crawling fingers
that set you alight.

Sometimes he’s father,
King Nightmare and soft hands,
saviour of ruin with the key
in his fist. Cracked
fingernails- he’s hidden,
the blind spot of the common eye,
broken and dirty, cup for coins.
If he says love he’s planning something
dangerous,
and you’re running
towards it like a high tide,
like everything is right
with the way his words fall
on your skin.

When he’s mortal his utility expires.
A device of self-detonation, rice paper over Bristol glass.
Waiting for the bite, the scratch,
the fracture that’ll choke his heart.
Cream-coloured
wallpaper in the baby’s room
means he’s nowhere to be found,
and you’re a prisoner with the life
he cursed into you. Punch-
drunk, the works, salt in a busted mouth
and he’s a champion, sometimes.
Others they turn away the eyes
of their children. Fractured teeth, no
bedtime story.

Mostly, however,
mostly he’s just the electric voice,
human arms and wire-like veins.

Mostly, when he calls, you come to him.
Because he’s like you;
sinner, leader, silent.

When is a man truly real?

When he is afraid of dying.

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