When it’s finished, and I have regained
the present, the bedroom recomposing
itself around the pulpy grapefruit-colored
air of first light, of not quite May,
each atom briefly discernible as himself, a son
separate from his scheming family, each dizzy
planet plucked from his refractory solar system
and singularly loved before retrograde;
when myself has been returned to himself,
and I have emerged from that closed-eyed
kingdom of spit and jerk, the emergency
over, called off, the ambulance delivered
to the station sedated, empty, disappointed,
the dumbfounded stadium of my body being
rebuilt, panting bulldozer, conveyor belt
of sodium and tablespoon of bleach;
then I ask what other men blinking awake
alone in this apartment building? How
many fluid ounces filling this spilt city?
What other illegible autographs drying
invisible across our exhausted chests?
Exactly what kind of mercy is this?
Noah Michelson received his MFA in poetry from New York University. His work has appeared in numerous journals and magazines and was also selected for The Best American Erotic Poetry from 1800 to The Present. He is the Editorial Director of the Voices Department at The Huffington Post and he founded and still oversees HuffPost Gay Voices.
This poem originally appeared in the Beloit Poetry Journal.