The rain stopped after raining for weeks
and suddenly the world resembled your bones.
This was midnight. Before the woman
asleep upstairs is a widow. The gutters emptied
of their secrets. It doesn’t take long
for you to grow complacent in your suffering.
At the kitchen table, the chill of February
ever-awake in your hands. Outside, a thick fog
moves in and obliterates the dampened spines
of trees. The ground covered in branches
that have snapped their necks. The coroner says
4–6 minutes. But how long, I want to ask,
did you know you were close to dying?
So long, perhaps, that as you finally rise
you forget every light in the house will be left
on for her. A dream of your daughters’ sunlit
dresses hanging to dry. The line perfectly
knotted. In several hours, men will stumble
across the muddied lawn, carrying your body,
stiff and bloated, from the cellar. Cold air heavy
with the breath of neighbors who cannot help
but talk. The next day it rains. The sky still
bruised from the scrape of your chair. Your swift
fingers. Though in whose bones, I want to ask,
will this woman continue to wake?
Originally published in Arcturus (Chicago Review of Books)