Count Breaths to Calm


Everywhere I’m expecting rapture—

the one where you disappear. If I call

and you don’t answer, rapture. When

the back door is open and all

I see is yard, rapture. When I can’t see

you over an aisle of clothes, rapture.

When you leave a dish under running water—


I press my head against the sheet and hear

your heart’s voice through your back,

or maybe it’s my own pressing through

my temple, and your body is only sheet,

feather, spring, wood, eventually earth.


I leave my clothes out on the floor for you:

dress the carpet with my silhouette

and hide in the closet naked. Wire hangers

tapping my skin, I am on the verge

of laughter as I watch you in the light

come upon the scene. You smile

and the closet door opens.


I wait for my mother to tuck

what she thinks is me in:

a fluffed pillow for my body,

rolled sheets like an awkward limb.

I hide at the foot of the bed. It’s a childish thrill

to watch someone think you’re there

when you’re really somewhere else.

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