It was months when it felt like I had been
washing the dishes forever.

Hardwood planks under the feet, a cord to the sky.
What is it to go to a We from an I?

Each time he left for an errand, the walls
would squeeze me in, I cried over the non-existent bathmat, wet floor of him,
how south we were, far away in the outskirts.

(All the new bugs.)

I put my apron on as a joke and waltzed around carrying
a zucchini like a child.

This is not New York and I am not important.

This was before we got the dog even, and before I really
trusted the paralyzing tranquilizer of love stuck
in the flesh of my neck.

Back home, in my apartment, another woman lived there.
In Brooklyn, by the deli, where everything
was clean and contained.

(Where I grieved my deaths.)

I took to my hands and knees. I was thinking about the novel
I was writing. The great heavy chest of live animals
I had been dragging around for years; what's life?

I made the house so clean (shine and shine and shine).

I was suspicious of the monkey sounds of Kentucky’s birds,
judging crackles, rusty mailbox, spiders in the magnolia tree,
tornado talk, dead June bugs like pinto beans.

Somewhere I had heard that, after noting the lack
of water pressure in an old hotel in Los Angeles,
they found a woman’s body at the bottom
of the cistern.

Imagine, just thinking the water was low, just wanting
to take a shower.

After that, when the water would act weird,
spurt or gurgle, I’d imagine a body, a woman, a me
just years ago, freely single, happily unaccounted for,
at the lowest curve of the water tower.

Yes, and over and over,
I’d press her limbs down with a long pole
until she was still.