the night deadens, the hands curl and the chest seeks warmth

the eyelash weakens against the thralls of sleep, the inching at the neck

strung tight by the shoulderblades struggling to give in to fatigue, the cold

of the air, the scratching at the stoop’s foot, there is red

on the mouths, fires in the bodies and restlessness in the fingers rolling up the thighs

stalling the knees

the snails twining in the tongue’s gnarled branches.

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