Against gratitude

When resentment curdles, call it gratitude.
Coercion’s marbled belly-fat.  Your thin-lipped
grin begs it, your eyeless smile, a paper cut.

Write it in the firm tread of a soft-toed shoe.
Envy’s past tense in the passive form.  Hope
upended.  I preserve your disappointments

under wax paper, and wheeze prickled breath
into a kilner jar.  The sweetness will fur.  One day
I will feed it to you, with the promise of wine.

We’ll lie between the thin sheets of a fever bed,
sweated from submission.  This gratitude.
I bow.  But I’ll not rest my head, not here –

at a block where, one day, I will make you kneel.


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