I never told you why the windows shook
when I closed them, or why the dishes danced
when I slammed the cupboard door, or why
stairs stuttered with every step I took to bed.
Tonight I stare at the wall and listen
to the silence between heartbeats
until my quick breaths settle into the rhythm
of your back barely brushing my skin.
There is no moonlit kiss of making up–
just the half-shadow of earth
caressing far-away canyons,
just ancient craters peeking out
behind make-believe drapes.
The mattress shudders as you turn. I turn
to stare at your closed eyes, your arm curved
over your pillow, and my fingers stretch
themselves against your elbow. An old habit, this,
going to bed without saying goodnight,
apologies carried through an accidental touch,
answers shifting through silence and shadow
like dishes dancing behind cupboard doors.
Editor’s Note: This brilliant poem conveys an astonishing depth of emotion while also avoiding any treacly broodiness.