Night training: a babe becomes accustomed
to the soothing taste of absence.
That same child grows up
and chooses a safe word: milk.
I say, We need milk. Everyone agrees
to my duplicity. I pantomime mouthfuls
of emptiness, one hand on the doorknob.
Need seems like the only memory
when it is present. First driving need,
then flat-out more. Hauled
to the brink of nightmare
conclusion, counting seconds.
Need. Need. Need.
Claw the dream dictionary
looking for citations
of original thirst.
Scrub the carpet’s traces
of spilled milk.
Count every Tuesday you wake up,
thirsty, needful, sore.