A letter you nonchalantly put on the mantel
and forget about. This is sleep deprivation, adulthood:
the handwriting you have wondered about,
within reach, now captive and uninteresting. Fingering
your name, its indentation,
a thing you might have done years ago.
Jo says I should have been
a great many things, and
on my list is tender
of unfurling orange and deep,
dark red; clipper of excess,
slipping slender stems through the grid,
a trade secret, into water.
Stand at the sink shelling pistachios
contemplating how well the Xanax is
working. Listen to the noise they make
as you shake them whole in your hand.
Grasp the nut between your teeth and pry.
Run the empty shell over your bottom lip, lick
the salt it left there. Realize you have been doing
this for seven minutes and decide the
Xanax may be working after all.
In my sleep, you pulled my hair
aside and traced the letters, still
stinging. You kissed that mastoid
process and I stood stiffly, breath held.
Sometimes, I forget you’re dead.