Prelude i. bathroom (floor)
I was scrubbing mold off the bottom edge of the tub, that place where caulking meets tile meets the tub’s body, sweat was pooling in the creases of my neck fat, then suddenly,
my hands slipped on the wet floor, my chin hit the top lip of the tub.
Lying still on the floor, bitten tongue lolling forward to wash the front of just-brushed teeth in blood, when I saw you there with me:
a tuft— grey, oval, light and fluffy, down gracing a gosling’s head, a part of you, of your belly button, of me, undressing you on our last date.
The lint tuft appeared out of nowhere, resting motionless on the bathroom floor in the days since your last visit.
I watched for a while until someone not me blew you away.
ii. bathroom (tub)
My tub finally clean, I climbed into the murky water, sluicing my armpits in the yellowed watercolours of Hurricane Matthew,
his October visit a warning to any that dared soak their bodies so soon after weathering the storm.
My pruned hands scooped the brothy water over my cheeks, the wrinkles giving me a better grip on my skin— I was ready
for real grass to start growing out of the drain between sighs of the stream of water, the pump waking up to sediment to seeds
germinating in rust, coughing up a lung all morning long. The copper claws of the tub feet became a cow’s tasty heel,
the drain became my mouth, sipping foot soup. iii. kitchen (pantry)
My garlic had grown too tall, their little green tips poking out like the excited penis of a shaggy tan terrier.
My potatoes were sprouting extra limbs, and honestly, my onions were pickling themselves— at ease with the way they smelled.
I filled the slow cooker with these old ingredients cursing the flavourless toppings on such a fresh cut of beef.
The tummy-rumbling anticipation of dinner having itself ready when we were was too much for me to bear
so I made breakfast alone: avocado toast, decorated with chia seeds, tiny flecks of obsidian on emerald jewels you would never consent to eating.
Is this why you left? iii. living room (couch)
The couch cushions bore water marks, spreading downward from where you lay your hair, wet, after we walked back from the downtown rain that time.
My toes find the underside of my couch’s body. I rub them along the erratic teeth of staples that someone lovingly
tapped in, one layer over another.
It probably took years of some upholsterer designing crosshatches, dashes, positive signs
only to catch in the frayed translucent apron, ripping open the spaces between the old wood slats and sealing them up again, the spent shards
of material falling soundlessly, as if a kitten was somehow involved.
iv. living room (floor)
I conjure up the one orgasm I will have tonight. When I open my eyes, I am kneeling behind the couch—dust bunnies, peanut shells, candy wrappers, loose change, the dirt of other days gathering itself into a magic circle around me.
Without someone to cut a door in the side to get out, without someone to free the circle, here I stay,
lest I break the spell. Date i. closet (rack)
I change into a revealing piece of myself. Hair swooping back over my forehead showing just the right amount of scalp, a private place. My closet is quiet. It is mine, lost in time. But my lace-wrapped tits, my fingers fanning out—pleasure is yours, imminent.
Watch the things I can do with my legs.
Sometimes my arms bend back that’s right,
I like that kind of media.
ii. bedroom (bed)
My toes find the corners of my bed that are without any blankets to suffocate them.
Remembering the friction of my head on the board helps me maintain a steady pulse.
I count to ten, over and over, working on delivering an optimal performance.
I mentally practice my violin, visualizing the struggle to disguise the staleness of the tinny open E string.
I imitate Heifetz, I try to match his vibrato to the current mood, fail. My hands controlling nothing except the space
You know I hate when things touch my face.
iii. bedroom (floor)
It is cold down here. Why am I always the only one who is naked, and I mean completely naked—no T-shirt hauled up under my chin to keep it clear of bodily fluids; no socks with holes in them rolled up to protect my bony ankles from getting twisted; no big toes gesturing outside of their socks, waiting for a new hiding place. No, that is not me. I am Chris Pratt’s Donna, the sock lines permanently etched into my legs. I am magic. I am orphan Sara Crewe, wailing in the circle of her own imagining in the attic, cursing her magic around her for letting a bad thing in. I am magic. I am Laura Palmer in a smooth velvet room listening to perfect jazz, about to fuck Agent Cooper, if I could just stop being dead for a second. I am magic. I am Susie Salmon, like the fish, about to make love as a ghost. I am magic.
I dropped my pants on my floor and the linoleum ate them up. I dropped my head, too; watched it roll under my bed. Now, I can see you from under here, one foot about to drop onto my cheek. I roll my eyes at the spectacle of life. I always knew you were rough but remember when I was delicate. I am magic I am magic I am magic I am magic I am.
iv. guest room (bed)
You’ve moved in, so fast
(Don’t Worry I Didn’t Even Notice –)
my bed spread with your body
watching— (it’s okay it wasn’t a Big Deal—) while I redress across the hall.
You tuck in for the night, I tuck you in. Postlude i. living room (rocking chair)
I remember watching KinK as a kid, thinking how exciting to be strung from the ceiling in cellophane—
I want my skin protected in plastic bags, held together with twist ties,
I want my heart wrapped in wax paper, laid out on a Styrofoam tray in the corner store, its packaging date clear,
I want a placenta one day, waiting in the freezer, waiting for the right mound of earth to come along to bury it in,
I want my liver bottled alongside moose I kill myself.
ii. kitchen (counter) Our supper uneaten, cold, on the counter.
I open a new can of peanuts, the can my mouth peeled open as if we could laugh at any time.
iii. closet (door)
I shut the closet door, hanging up my purple silk robe, hear it catch on the wallpaper, its flowers scratched to bits from that time Fluffy got stuck in there, or so the real estate agent told me.
When I moved into my house
I threw out all that was left: a tarantula, its cage, in the spare room, a giant Chucky doll in the hallway, porcelain figurines—unicorns, mostly,
a list of all the emergency numbers tacked inside the closet door. I wouldn’t need them.
iv. bathroom (sink) What will happen if you stay?
I wipe the toothpaste off my mouth, the corners cracking in the season’s transition,
I hear you snoring through the wall—what if the sound makes the sink tear loose, the caulking break away, the tub overflow, the toilet back up— could I stop it if I wanted to?