MEASURING WINTER /i

  1. I am losing things. My ducks are not in a row; they have gone rogue at twilight while I was watching mindless TV instead of the world news, unable to bear today’s tragedies.

 

  1. I am losing my ideas and such. They wander off the rail, into the embankment of last night’s deadly car crash, off the grid. I’m looking for them in the dumpster behind my favorite restaurant I can no longer afford, in the swamp behind your house with my industrial-sized flashlight, but the batteries are dying, and I’m not sure how many flickers of light are left.

 

  1. I lost the velvet emerald dress for the holiday party this weekend that I bought matching shoes for, the long coat that would be warm enough for the cold weather predicted. I’m stuck in the labyrinth of my own making again; on my hands and knees, reaching for the words that fall endlessly through the gaps of synapses, memory.

 

  1. My failures with syntax glare at the periphery of day shifting, winding down without me, perpendicular lines, or beautiful symmetry.

 

  1. Do the math, I tell myself, enumerate the missing and dead with stick figures in the cave of the self. Measure winter appropriately with the rusted ruler, the distance from— [your disappearing House, all the lies I told].

 

  1. The river between our delipidated houses is overflowing now the December night has gone oddly warm, and the blue snow beneath the streetlights melts. A Siberian land of ice chunks, floes; the cracking ice moans, an old woman who has lost her own visage in her broken compact mirror, echoes out above the evening traffic, hovering.

 

  1. We should walk together out of this melting ice land, holding hands until we reach the southern border, but we mustn’t speak of any of this.

 

  1. When you find the rust-orange leather glove and the moonstone earring I lost that day you kissed me languidly last week when the river was frozen, that day we knew our equation would not be a summation, but rather a subtraction, please package them in tissue and leave in my mailbox that the plow knocked down again three long days ago. You’ve become part of the negative space where I live huddled with blankets and an odd assortment of talismans to protect me from what is to come.

 

  1. I know you are pacing along the river on your side of things, flicking daylight through test tubes, picking apart the malfunctioning parts of the machine, pulling out your silver hair—all for the sake of some shabby catharsis, a fabricated antidote. You’re predictable that way; trying to pass the night with a steadying branch over the newest abyss.

 

  1. The clock seems stuck, but it has been wound and cooed to. It’s funny how some days stretch larger than one’s imagination can.

 

  1. The rooster windchime outside my bedroom window is clanging away the night even though the clock is slow to move, and all the devices seem frozen on 9:11 PM.

 

  1. When you finally find this, I’ll be gone again, back into the corner of our dark game, stitching my nefarious seeds into stone, your collar bone. You mustn’t panic or tell the others. None of them should know.
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