It is proof of life
and the ability to bear pain.
Before sleeping with you
in the big bed upstairs with the cuffs on the posts,
I spent six weeks living with religious lunatics
in the woods;
they had whips and crosses,
thorns and theology.
Later, deep in the rabies dance of our mating,
I called upon the things they had taught me--
starvation without complaint,
dogma without tenderness,
and the acquired skill of animating bird carcasses with or without ceremony.
That was the key--the corpse cardinal, dead dove and rot starling,
all left on your pillow along with red script
from the blood bracelet your bite left
when you spoke to me
so ignited and
sure of redemption's need for absolute destruction as prelude.
for bits of inspiration at real toads.