Twisted sheets ‘til sunrise
breathe the swirls on the ceiling to life:
alike, a clock face and a cracked mirror
derail thought diagnosed already.
And the clock is tactful:
it is ticcing, and
I have been talking back—
I have been tired for weeks,
and I think the clock
Because she is licking her lips,
chapped like cherry blossoms chilled in ice.
Except she blooms throughout the year,
and for some reason I’m stuck here,
crafting dirty coffins
of midnight popcorn prayers.
The bottles between the roof and the attic
are glowing above the fan—
the clock’s still ticcing,
and their labels are sticking
wherever they can land.
The mirror is not so tactful;
it tells a tasteless, morbid tale—
it knows that I am timid—
my wrists and I are frail.
And she is licking her lips
chapped, like cherry blossoms chilled in ice.
Press your knuckles to my temples.
Peel the bruises from my back.
Whisper the whorls on the pads
of your fingers across my walls.
Trace the spools of string
spread across your palms
down every rung of my spine
so that I’m forced to climb my
way to your dreams.
And if you peer
through this thin veneer
you find you hear
the puzzle of a petulant insomniac
peeling the paint from its pieces,
caching those less-than-savory
in the carpet, contemplating:
hoping, waiting, sitting, praying,
ribs open, gaping,
with every string ready to be plucked,
every piece positioned to be put in,
every sleepless, silent night
like a pilot light,
safe, stable, sacrifice—
And she is licking her lips.