Aniseed in sand

Comes on and quickly: A thin worm slips sylphlike
             into the inner ear and spirals to line the cochlea
                          in coil, rests, bloats and distends, widens cavity

walls, bloats down to the throat and my head cocks
             under its weight. My evening shadow clutches, clasps
                          a tuft of hair pulling me toward her, serving

as further proof that shadows want flesh to buckle slump, stretch
             horizontal to sow substance where there is none. Especially up-market,
                          up high and uphill, this soil swills envy and its variations.

The torque saddles my spleen and my legs move like crabs,
             corybantic and feral to stand in for gravity and the plane.
                          Dear shade, dear daemon, do not muster, do not envy.

With this motion I descend, towed. A shipping heir
             gifts me a bouquet. Tucks one sanguine rose behind my ear.
                          My teeth tear at the rose-tops. The pluck not mine, I cannot stop.

There is nothing precious about the periphery and
             molars are equally useless if they fall out. Let go please
                          shadow sister watch me swear you one wisdom tooth.

Unstead unbalanced I bare my rose-stained teeth
             with foreign fury, spit the petals and hurl the stems. Descending, nearing
                          the port now. Please loosen your grip we are one you one I.

The shipping heir follows. Asks a merchant seaman for
             aniseed boiled in water and left on the stovetop of Commerce.
                          The seaman asks his nursing wife who asks

what for. Is this heart-ache or is this worm-
             wood lodged under or has it reached the ear.
                          White linen is most beautiful stained with attar

and umber—when it speaks for itself—for what unstained
             is ever permanent? On this ashy shore I have no resolve or
                          resolution. Drive is driven. We must hurtle together regardless.

Our history is express, likewise our en-
             rapture. Respect’s deckhand once carried a para-
                          sol, which has since rusted over in the aromatic

nothing we will soon be glad to remember
             with clarity. Sister Anise, sister shadow, I am spinning.
                          Retrograde. In sand. Crab-like legs one needle.

With the three spins before the gyroscope falls
             its needle traces my name in the ash-sand.
                          When the rim touches down my orb-skull cracks.

Captive liquid falls in tears, which fill the cursive:
             a self-portrait too sad to admit agency and yet
                          this is a flavor I have wrung myself. A flavor

for which I have obtained a Protected Designation
             of Origin which means what I choose will choose
                          to swell inside me and it always tastes how it was made.

This flavor is black but brilliant, the incan-
             descent paragon of lustre and forgetting
                          taste my parsley of enmity, an-

imus, anisum. I taste acquired
             like black licorice or leucorrhea.
                          Like ouzo in brine, I drink you, like:

Umbilical. Milk that’s pressed from stalks.
             Umbellifer. Milk of noontime, milk that calls me back.
                          Umbra. Milk of malice, milk that soothes no aches.

A wild wheel leaking prone like spleen: seed and sown.