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.