disappearing roe

when they come for this part
of her,
put the kettle on. scrounge
for chamomile, for mugwort, for
the right thing to say. as the leaves
steep, gather the loose
ends around you: the cold
mug of coffee, the jug of milk from
breakfast. when the tea is ready,
carry her cup to the nightstand–
close the bedroom door behind you.

when they come for this
part of them,
separate the lights from the
darks. clothespin the linens on
the line, one after the other. if they
have the stomach for beauty, bring
them to the window to watch the
bedsheets curl in the mid-spring
breeze, high above the patch of
pennyroyal. hold them to your
chest, to keep the passage of
time from feeling like approaching
footsteps. watch together as the colours of the
golden gate glide down
the walls of the laundry room.

when they come for this
part of him,
become the colour of
anticipation. pick the kids
up from school. grab the
groceries. listen
for the long exhale as he scrolls
from the edge of the couch. layer
the tension in every room
with the soft blade of his most trusted
choruses. the albums that can
find him in the fog.
wait for the sound of his jaw
unclenching– he has swallowed
his own erasure. dash around the
corner for take out, use the good
dishes. bring out the cinnamon,
build an altar of sweetness at his
feet, an offering, an antidote to each
bitterness you will never taste.

when her tired body calls
time on the unrelenting day,
send them to bed. drape the
plush throw across his
sunken frame & whisper to the
outlines of the streetlights on the
walls around you
i love you
i love you
i love you.

walk to the kitchen. find the
scissors. the legal
pads. the cue
cards. the permanent
markers. the stomach &
the spoons. pen the letters.
find the numbers. paint
the cardboard. tape the
wood. tie your laces.

when the crosshairs aren’t trained
on your centre, you are free to choose
to go to war.

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