I have confidence, Peacock, and my eyes are soft.
The chairs, Queen Anne, the tables of night,
The beaded lamps, square pillows, more
symmetric that the human heart,
headboard of leaf-like nothing
that can ever form.
As you love this bed it makes you think
of the other bed,
so short they had to lay him out
diagonal. The paintings of people,
ghosts coated with oil.
But then to one side
the chair of a child, who’d faced the bed
and answered questions.
Ceiling high as the thought of elephants,
great living flowers, a plate the size of a head.
Glass globes, an even ten, you can’t stop counting.
Mirror, too, that doesn’t reflect
so much as suck,
with curtains, metaphors for resemblance
smeared with love, a marble table,
four sad books
resting there like people
fresh out of the loveseat, pale, pretending
the rug is the sea, it looks like something strong and wet,
the bed a big black battleship, only
a hockey puck black—if only
you could catch it—this is where
I was without my normal
alone, the stomach swelling like a sponge.
“There’s two of us,” I wrote to myself,
afraid it might seem loud.
This article originally ran in the July 12, 1999, issue of the magazine.