O uninspired tattoo of the lesser-than symbol,
tiny above the planet as a daughter’s barrette,
frayed chevron of the officer of the end of summer love,
I refuse to write the elegy you summon.
You yourself are never an ending,
never collapse like the pinsetters’ set-up
or vanish like the smudged pencil
of all my father’s strikes and spares.
You are only creatures
with somewhere to go,
called by the condition
of what you are
—blood, not wings,
the basis of all