CAVITY II

BY KIERSTEN SCHNEIDER, ’17

hollow and cavernous, your words echo off my blushing cheeks
I can feel you dig your hands into my satin-lined pockets.
“I’m sick of you, sweetpea.”
I say count the reasons and you
lead me blindly towards the page margin,
ticking off the precious moments as an imagined
mechanical being, unfeeling but with a persistent and growing fever –
so cough me up, and
drive my panic closer than can be.
I tell you to play for me tonight,
and you set me to the tune of your sickness –
commanding the respect and shame of a higher god than she.

this all defaults to some sort of failure – a horrific apathy
how does one learn to feel if the only thing you’ve felt is weakness
who are we kidding – ourselves, maybe, as your hair slips
through my fingers and when
I say the ephemeral “you” is too good for me
I mean that I am a bitter grapefruit juice and you
you sweeten me, excite me, brighten and
blind me, a shortening of breath and hands around
the small of the back, sweaty palms from picking fruit
in the dewed May morning or from interlacing fingers
on September evenings or from
the ephemeral “I” tracing the veins on your arm
or the veins of your city streets, trying to grasp
every feeling you’ve ever felt as “you,” so stand
in one place and accept your grand immortality
you ephemeral “you.”

the piano falls flat and we sit on the edge again, of the steps,
the ones I fell down the ones I slipped past every morning.
do you remember it all? you fed me cookies and
wine and gentle touches on my wrists and emotional
breakdowns: read into my texts
leaned into me, frail – and told me you loved me.

so get up, tie my shoes –
(they’re unlaced)
while I sit on those
steps and wait to run after you.

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