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Through Thick Glass photo

After that, I gave up
on finding a decent doctor.
Paint puckered
and peeled in long strips away
from our bedroom walls.
Its lead dust settled
in the underwear drawer
and between the floorboards.
Every morning grew more muffled.
If there were birds,
I wouldn’t hear them.
There was a change, too slow
to be violent.
I had felt it before.
I remembered this life,
which, like a mother, moves
wholly away. Hollow
was a home, and cold.
Always in some fear
and disrepair. I couldn’t bear
to water the plants.
Watched them recoil
from the drafty windows.
Snow fell differently this far south.
Came down like sex without love
or pleasure. It’s hard
to tell you now how caressed
I was by absence. How taken.
How loud, my own vacancy.
I saw my love distorted
on the other side of the frosted glass,
scraping the ice. A season
at this distance. I was the daughter
of a fire that grew
tired of being questioned.
I was a mother once,
but I forgot. I held
my insurance card
to my chest like a stillborn
and cried. I remembered this life.
I had long ago learned
how it bows with rot.
Every night I scratched my skin
until it opened. Please stop,
said my love, who is good,
even through a glass tunnel.
We live here, I hummed
to myself because I hated
this place. We live
here we live.
I wanted to exit,
but not my home.



image: Anna Kortright