Bed Bugs

The boat, full hold,
runs in deep cold.
In dusk’s fo’c’sle
we crewmen wear

sheer sleep and hear
snores. Dream of beer,
the slightest fear
of dawn, the work

day brings, its jerk
hard. This murky
night, Skipper skirts
Olalla Point,

rubs swollen joints
and lucky coins,
wants to anoint
the autumn’s plum-

dark with light rum,
chooses milk, hums,
broods as it un-
ravels white threads

in coffee. In bed
we sleep, bugs feed,
skitter on heads,
hands, hearts, and sink

torch tongues in skin
glass smooth and thin.
Little beasts, pin
puncture mouths. Ache.

See how we wake
naked, how we find
the smallest butcher
making of us meat.