the story in love with its ending. a voice
on the other side of the room. heat
off the backlit glass. the fuselage

of self roped to a makeshift launch
sequence. petty rituals involving wasps. orange
petals. ringed planets. an impending sense

of doom. a bad attitude. laid out
on the couch again, sick-awake past
conscious. the moon redacted

by the walls of this interlude. an old
scene. everywhere you never fell
asleep. your last instance

of comfort. the host on-screen
who double dares you to vanish
into the theme song he sings. that shadow

without body figures the door
through negative space. the view
to the rock half as big as our duplex

apartment, what crowds the front yard
like an alien landing. the neighbors' kind
gestures. waves pushed from a single

point. then multiples. seen
from another angle: an in-ground
pool besieged by tiger

lilies, high timothy grass. flicking her
bandeau top down to fade the tan on her chest.
a foil mirror held at her neck. the quick-

silver color of astronauts. equipped
with a crossword puzzle
folded over her kneecaps. one clue

solved and then onto the next. who left
this mess on the counter? who drank
all the tang in the fridge? the party

when some uncanny visitor
from our future chewed the locks
off the window casements.

shots! shots! shots! shots!
blacking out in your enemy's base-
ment. not waking up. blood

in the bathtub. red circle on porcelain.
pink mold like a length of lace. no one
to call. the road into town too thick

with winter to ambulance. the emergency
nurse not sure if you remember
that time when you went ice

skating with her daughter once. the pond
behind the house. the house beyond
the dam. the frozen block of water

indistinguishable from land. ten years old, ten
after: she'd recognize your face anywhere. but
what a shock under the current

circumstances. what a handsome man.
not the first person you failed
or impressed. hard pass then pale

into the sound of the hall outside
going soft. the tick and wheeze of
instruments beating someone

else's breath. an insect slinking the orbit
line cast by the ceiling light. the bare
minimum required to raise a cenotaph.