Death Visits as Often as a Distant Relative

He had a name I could never remember.
He'd pull a coin from behind my ear
then hold it under his tongue all through dinner.

Junior year of high school, I climbed down
from my bedroom window to meet him
in his tan colored sedan, cigarette smoke

ringing out from his kiss-shaped mouth.
I pressed my ear flat against his chest, listening
to his lungs. That summer, I got so drunk

the card deck of my hands fell from my sleeves.
I kissed Death out of my best friend's naked
breasts, then tried to jack him out of my throat

using the palliative neck of a broken Popov bottle.
I once swallowed enough sand to sleep
for three straight days. My body was like a tomb

some old Pharaoh's ghost had staked out, telling me
how to go and stay at the same damn time. Then the man
with a name I could never remember handed back

what I'd let him carry for my whole life: the note he kept
in his pocket that held my name, written by my own hand.