Jacques, from Jacob, Renamed Israel, which Means, in Hebrew, He Who Wrestles God
Standing before it in Paris
in the fourth month of our long-distance
a morning after I’d slept,
I could see what Delacroix meant
about his fresco, the one where Jacob
wrestles the angel, when he wrote
that it represents torment
how he, like Jacob
the night before fording
the Jabboq river, was alone—
whereas I might have argued
at a different time
that because of how Jacob’s tunic is torn
down & off, how their fingers
in upraised hands
are interlocked, or how he leans his head
against another man’s body,
even the not-body of an angel,
that this fresco represents the push-pull
of sexual pursuit—except
that pleasure is brief,
it is fleeting, so you could
never look at this painting & think
it had anything to do with sex,
or so I decided, standing before it in Paris
in the fourth month of our long-distance
the morning after I’d slept
with somebody else.
The Mayfly
And afterwards, the drive between
your apartment and his is a dry tunnel
through an otherwise wet hill. He held
the deflated balloon of yourself
in his semen-sheened hand
while he told you, naked and blue
in his blue-lit room, that you
are his only friend in the Bay.
But it’s like this: you’ve met up
just four times and always
for sex, and by next week,
he won’t return your texts.
Not all forms of love
are made to last. Take the mayfly
that lives the hour required
to mate. Take these city lights,
prismatic and star-stoned, that honeycomb
across your beaded windshield.
The lonely animal of yourself
met the lonely animal of himself
for only a few moments cut shimmering
out of time, or in time, or from time
to time, and it is almost enough for you
for whom nothing is ever quite.