He cut his beard with the kitchen shears —

each strand was a day, a piece of soup stain,

the carried taste of stock bones

boiled bare in the pot.

He stood shirtless by the sink

and could not eat the plums.

He left his phone on vibrate

and when he could not sleep,

he cut his hair down to stubble,

a cornfield in November.

He took off all his clothes

and ran into the woods.

When he howled, he gave voice

to the popping of the old man’s sutured heart,

shook leaves from trees,

ignited the pale mercury of porch lights.

He ran till his feet were burger-raw

and his mouth was as dry as the vest of gauze

the old man wore when there was no more

blood to bleed.