a quiet rescue in the middle of a bed

the sour in her center

tangled to her ribs

 

has

gone

lower

 

she pulls up the covers

 

as he asked

 

and it’s dark

 

her hand

it slips

over the sheet

under his palm

praying one-sided

for less than rage

for more than tears

freezing the lawn

in the front of the house

so the deer can crunch

soft

in

the

crystals

 

the echo

the bulb

in the lamp by the bed

it’s answering orbs

float

ing

near

est

 

his fingers

hot and thick and stiff

 

they punish her kindness with ignorance

and general his body

to hold down the bed

 

 his arms

they swell

with his own

aching

blood

and she hears gears on the top of his pillow

 

maybe they wander his mind to:

 

the time she choked in the middle of a word

the time that he needed that one time

to keep himself above the others

above the waters

the time that one time that

he needed that one time that he needed one that

 

(who does she think)

 

how dare she dare joy when joy wouldn’t dare him

 

the front of his face

the hair on his chest

press permanent paths

to the skin of the mattress

 

every complaint is logged

 

eyes sealed

she pries to consider the thick of his effort

reversing a death

from inside of his glove

she lays her hand for careful soothing

and

 

there!

 

a flash!

 

a fish?

 

no, not a fish, a…

 

rot     rot

 

if she lets go?

 

yes

it’s gone

 

is this a gift, an illness, or both?

 

switch north to the dog

her palm, it finds a new home

 

beneath patchy fur

old muscles twitch

floating golden with rabbits and spiders 

trees of blue pine shelter packs of his kind

and he gallops with galloping brothers

 

tongues out

 

noses wet

 

cool merry mud mortars damp dewy leaves for this life’s racing joy

 

the dog sniffs 

the dog snores 

he burps a puffy “woof”

 

 

a red-lighted beacon calls from the south

 

silent ticking

trapped by her heart

a hook to a bomb that somewhere explodes

 

she rolls back gentle 

 

the mountain sighs organs into little plastic pockets

mastering orders to the side of his helmet

he lifts his neck high

he lets it down low

cracking the feathers under their purpose

killing his resting

forcing the drift

 

air

scurries

away

from illogic

 

but     she     is    (brave)

strong

(proud)

 

it is her arm he needs for the feast

 

closing the valleys

she wraps cautious

around

 

(she will pretend it is comfort)

 

 butter drips off her thumb

sealing him crisp to her wound

 

there!

closer!

 the fin!

 

curls of skin twinning brown toward their center

sickly shaped bubbles

violent stains

 

the middle of her own head

it stinks

 

choice is no longer a privilege

 

 

this

 

is not for the brave

 

 

it

 

belongs to the sick

 

 

 

she      will      float      north      with      the      rabbits      instead

Published The Champagne Room  Vol. 2, April 2020