True Romance

Cody Ernst

Is it really warranted, for you to bring a gun to New York,
city of high achievement? Thoughtless we both stood,
me, trying to talk you down from taking an overdose
of cerulean powder, you, intent on ingesting a headlamp
so you could witness the inner beatings of your gut.
So we stood like that, pheromones blooming,
animal attraction bouncing between our eyes
like mating cries bouncing from cellphone to cellphone
in a city that’s driven and horny and populated by zombies.
The first time you took me to your barn and made me fire
a flare gun at the airplanes coming toward us from Manhattan,
I nearly died because of how struck I was by your bedroom,
its spiral stairs. Your allusions to suicide
during our dinnertime conversation didn’t bug me in the slightest.
In fact, they helped me realize I was meant to be gritty.
A princely sperm and queenly egg must have met at your conception,
you once said into my ear before instructing a whole restaurant
how to peel their cups of orange sorbet. The only time I was afraid
was when you forced me, in your biplane, with an awl to my cheek,
to change my shorts while I was piloting. But let’s not talk about us,
let’s talk about each other, face to face after years of swapping
ransom notes and Polaroids of the weapons
we planned to kill each other with. Your gun has a poem
written on the barrel. My sword has your blood on it
because I saved some of your blood.