Under Hotel Sheets
And the mother with scarlet baby biting
and the trucker with the bullet whore, crying
though he’d like to do more. And the newlyweds
too poor to go too far – but still he brings crimson
and the nurse escapes, blots her mascara
on paper sheets which dry an ink spill,
and the farmer sweats the night
and goes back to grass the next day,
and the male too scared to shit,
waits for the balloons to break.
And only yesterday I was told
of my grandmother below hospice sheets,
and there’s angel dust in skeletal lamp light,
brown, moth-size burns left on the shade.
And someone looked out this window,
and someone spilled wine for the floor
and you have to tell yourself without fear
where this goes, and what we leave,
what remains whenever
we are a little bit gone. And how many
others have had this bed and done
what I’ve done – come in a hand
beneath whispering sheets,
wiped their ghosts on white before sleep?
First published in Tomorrow, We Will Live Here, 2010.