Whatever I said I was,
was blown youth, delirious smoke in the woods

where the boy had been.
Wet-dark, chameleon’s dish, in the sheets

where the mouth had been,
the data into circuitry—her face her eyes “her spittle . . .

Life’s own fount to me.”
The data out: let me be your new and improved.

Where the words had been,
the seventeen-year-old atmosphere squeezed,

my mouth unhinged northwesterly,
the shine and steam of the carwash became me.

From the soap-scudded interior, I surfaced
and nothing was the matter, people scurried

with vacuums; my loneliness populated!
And it was good. It was progress (which I resented).

And I walked up and down upon my own skin.
And I never returned.