good morning. the weather is sick. don’t open your eyes. stay in bed and keep the windows drawn.
i am a smooth stone in your sink. i have grey elephant skin. the water runs over me in shining curls like balloon ribbons.
i am dead below your window like a sparrow. i am a set of old guitar strings belonging to the man who made you pregnant. i am your stomach: cool, flat and empty. i am a million miles away from you and all of your experiences with grief. i fling my love at you like something i want to get rid of.
i pack our love up in a vintage suitcase, worn in some places, the leather alligator green. i drop it into a river where you can see straight through to the bottom and the current is fast and in some places white and frothy. you can tell how cold the river is by looking at the air right above it. the river is almost-freezing. the suitcase makes a noise like a tree branch snapping as it splits the surface tension into hyacinth blooms.
you are still sleeping but when you wake up you will want me gone. i step into your shower. i note the brand names of your various soaps and conditioners. i note the small spider of hair stuck to your tile wall. the water runs over me in shining curls like balloon ribbons. i try to believe that my body can repel all of this water. under my skin, there are roots and roots that soak up moisture, gorging themselves. they exist to keep my flesh from eroding and sliding off of my bones.
when i am clean, i stand in the hot cloud of the bathroom in front of the mirror. there is nothing i can think of to write in the steam. as i dress, i dress like someone who exists to keep you from sliding off the face of the earth. the spaces outside of the spaces we inhabit together are shoddy paths that skirt cliff sides. these paths long to fall down the mountain’s face.
when we cease to need anything but ourselves we become merciless. when i think of you i see a vintage suitcase, worn in some places, the leather alligator green.
every night i searched for the doorway between your breasts that would lead out of your apartment and into the future. my tongue was a key at first but its special ridges rubbed smooth. now i speak with a knife that is much too dull to kill you.
you are a wolf and i am a lamb but i am also the wolf’s teeth.
every morning before you wake a pair of hands opens a window and lets in pitchers and pitchers of light. you do not want to look out the window but the hands take you by the hair and the neck and force your head across the threshold. the hands know you can’t keep your eyes shut forever.
every morning you awake into a world where i am closing the door softly behind me so i don’t wake you into a world where i am closing the door softly behind me.
i had a dream that you gave a name to each passing moment of my life. as i blew forward in time your lips could not move rapidly enough to keep pace. your jaw grew weak, your tongue chapped. your vocal chords cracked like a teakettle. years after i died, you finally ran out of names.
Samantha Conlon lives in Cork, Ireland Benjamin Clancy lives in Austin, TX
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