Time was when I could shake and tap
the side of my head to relieve the gurgle
of what should not have fallen in. But
I hold no defense against your words, nor

ways to excise them: sometimes sharp, stabbing,
sometimes dull, aching; sometimes contagious,
gathering up many benign, many wrenching
images, turning them slick, flat, unusable;

sometimes overstuffing the tiny crevice
where sense forms, immobilizing it, clogging
it up, whole paragraphs piling on my
shoulders, awaiting their turn to invade.