One night we messed the couch with ourselves,
your head between my legs. Pleasure is a clever
reversal, a silver latch snapping flesh into attention.
The lightning slipped into my dream
like a femoral nerve flashing pain and I sprang
from bed so afraid of what death would do to me.
My profligacy rushed me into half-moons, you
peaceful, mindless. Star-throttled, sorry, the sample
of charred meat between my teeth. Yes, I thought
of the market, the sun in the green, a motorcycle
tearing peace from the powerline birds. Need
in its noun form is a body awake on its side, no
hand reaching. A soft snore frictioning the air,
a parting verb. In the morning we don’t need each other.
Slow drip of coffee water, a balance.
Far away now, I write a message to myself.
I say, “It is still winter, and I don’t feel love for a single scrap.”
I write another message, later, a note
to the pile of dehydrated ladybugs on my sill. Death
is so final, the silence in the held-down backspace
that erases an entire ledger of sentences. Yesterday,
a possum sauntered by my window, a yellow odor
articulating a misunderstanding. The sky a dialogue
in not wanting, only the illusory bargain of clouds.
I close my eyes to its yellowing, my body dropping
languageless through terrible blue space. In that moment,
you moves its white sustenance through,
inventing new etymologies as landscape pushes
further from time. A motorcycle snores the air
into a hostile agreement. I hold my own hand.
Today in the green shush, I push a button and my car comes to life.
A possum lies on the side of the road
unharmed but for being torn out. I open a window
by pushing another button. Loneliness is the easiest part about life,
a garden I can scrutinize and make
better through neglect. Fruit fattens without me.
It rains all the time and I never write about the rain.
How curious. I wake up like it’s no big deal to wake up.
When do possums make a sound, and is it so obscene to listen. ●
Natalie Eilbert is the author of Indictus (Noemi Press, 2018), winner of Noemi Press's 2016 Poetry Prize as well as the poetry collection, Swan Feast (Bloof Books, 2015). Her work has appeared in or is forthcoming from Granta, The New Yorker, Tin House, The Kenyon Review, jubilat, and elsewhere. She was the recipient of the 2016 Jay C. and Ruth Halls Poetry Fellowship at University of Wisconsin–Madison and is the founding editor of The Atlas Review.
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