I strip down to the flesh,
tarnished milky white by winter's oily hands.
Only seasons ago I was bronze.
My linens lax by the basin
with the fidelity of a dead dog,
shrouded in soot and ash.
At first, the faucet sputters, though
the room soon floods with steam
at the basin's christening.
I shiver, and contemplate washing away the past.
The tap freshly pulled, water cascades
from a cupped palm above.
My appendages limp, and my complexion
rosed like steel in a furnace.
An intrusive thumping of a dove beating
against the fogged window
agonizes my heartbeat with counter-rhythms.
The single pane cracks in fragile frigid air.
The shower shuts off. I dry, descend the stairs
with nothing clean to clothe myself in.
The bitter tiles swindle the warmth from my sole.
I woodlessly try to stoke the stove
as flat black as my skin is cream,
but weathered dreams misplace my ruddiness.
I shined only seasons before—
before desires came gnawing through walls,
shredding insulation for their nests
discreetly just out of reach.
They bring the frost in with them,
and I cannot get the fire lit.
Their reminiscent tracks mock my eyes
that have never seen their fruition.
Yet through their opening
the dove gets in, bruised on foot,
with blooded wings, and betwixt his beak a twig.