Autumn shrugs into view, closer
skies. A slow and gentle dying.
Stacks of Halloween decorations
piled in the basement, probably
cobwebbed for real now, and I
should have bought costumes.
I should be sleepless—and I am
sometimes, just not in the way
I anticipated. Too many nights,
I stumble toward unconsciousness
and feel afraid, jolt myself awake
in a panic because I remember
too well the feeling of a body
that no longer feels familiar.
It’s rained all week, and normally
I love the gray, the patter of drops
against the aluminum siding,
the way they echo like a song
in the fireplace. But these days,
the sky feels too heavy, the air
too thick. I could suffocate on it,
and the thought is deep and old,
yanks me back to second grade
and a baptism I didn’t want,
the water swallowing the light,
a crowd of people below clapping
and me pressing my nose closed
with the desperation of the dying.
I don’t have it in me to tell anyone
that there is no next time, that I can’t
walk that road again, feel my body
drift away, feel another body torn
from mine, swollen and already gone.
There is no cure. I’ll let my days
waste away, every poem touching
the same bruise, pressing it.
What is left but this? Who am I
but this—wrecked, weary,
venomous as the day is long.
I should be golden-eyed and wild,
curled in wait. Instead I watch the world
pass, bare fangs at my own reflection.
Everything Is Significant Until Further Notice
The pale gray cast of the sky, the wide
blankness just before snowfall. The ticking
of the two wristwatches on the counter,
never quite in sync. She came home
yesterday, stood her boots in the corner
of the bedroom. The cat tried to climb
into the left one, knocked it over,
and now it lies there like a dead fish—
shiny and still.
Three drinks in, and nothing has changed,
except her cadence. A video played
on the laptop on the table, the resolution
poor, faces blurred, colors messy.
A ring glistened in the wood, residue
from an old drink, a glass now broken.
The snag on the elbow of her sweater.
The catch in her voice on the word
yesterday. She fell asleep on the couch,
a striped throw pillow crushed
in her arms, flecks of mascara caught
in the half-moons beneath her eyes.