The vacuum-cleaner salesman
called it body ash, the powdery stuff
sucked from our mattress,
collected on a filter like evidence
of something foul. Think, he said,
how it must have built up
beneath a marriage of twenty years.
All night, afraid to move,
I think how friction rubs
the cells from you and me.
I dream of them sloughing off
like naughty children,
sifting through sheets,
accumulating snowy depths
to form the essence of another us.
Who knows what Phoenix-urge
might now be lying, waiting there?

Now no matter, Love.
Let us be true to one another's heat
and lose these mere integuments.
This low internal flame
that only signifies decay won't do.
Touch me here. And here.
Let sparks fly.

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