Object Permanence

in spring we come across a peeling house
and fill it with pots and pans.
sometimes I make noise with a wooden spoon.
you fix shingles and leaks,
tinker, turn knobs, use a wrench,
and I leave smooth stones in your pockets.
in theory: majestic, domestic, but whose feet will start to itch?
who will be the first to kick up yellow leaves,
before they are slick with rain?
I could go with no forwarding address
but how can I leave when I find myself
chilled and gasping for air at dawn,
calling you by my own name?
my palms have nails; I found your toolkit.
there are unopened boxes, baggage, dirty dishes,
your briefcase, work in the morning,
but you run the bath and the walls grow damp with steam
I curl up in the tub, you lower in your feet
clawing at my own scalp, staring at your knees.
hair Gordian and snarling.
you wince as you move towards the comb
with gentle hands on my head
and I rip it from you and snap it in two,
spitting acid, crying hot tears:
a potbellied child, naked and shining and wet.
and I clench my wrinkling hands,
bubble underwater, taciturn and red.
carry me to bed;
I am only made of fibers and
my knots are not worthy of your untangling.

(as published in Rushlight, spring 2016)

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