Sarah Fay

Room

Box by the Door



 

Room

 
I asked for space; you handed me
Satellite Revolutions—interstellar images
of the earth: icebergs
dwindling in the Arctic Sea, glaciers
receding in Chile. The fireflies must be freezing.
How can they be
so small when I think of them
 
so often? To move—a nomad
with no fixed route. Call anyplace home.
 
In every room, someone was in a cast.
The hospital hooked me to machines.
Gurneys rolled in, never out. I read
about the Aztecs, waging Flower Wars
just to keep the sun in motion.
 
Remember the eggs
mean rebirth.
 
A night out. The taxis cascade
down First Avenue carrying
our weaknesses and our weaknesses
wave. I remember glee and arguing.
The difference: a fight, the fight.
Can’t everything be
 
the way it is in the Andes?
Large and negligible at once.
 
 
 
 



 

Box by the Door

 
In permanent marker,
I name the box kitchen.
Plates divided. Your voice
a clear connection.
I measure that distance, how love
rises, takes off—
My body speaks
 
in acne, ulcers. I move about,
corporeal, shuttling dishes
from cupboard to table
to box. You take
 
this moment to tell me about a woman
who failed to suicide, too.
She drank Drano.
Stomach burned, she withered.
Technically, that’s just regular dying, you say,
your face crumpled
with resentment, as if I did it to you—
 
A knock at our window.
Tree branch, violent in its need
to enter. In four years,
 
I predict you’ll return, taut
with regret. We’ll walk
the River Walk unspeaking, as if
with broken teeth, over what was once
“our bridge,” staring down
 
at the halfhearted river,
oil-slicked, swifts flying under
to nest and eat and mate.
 
I won’t recall the box named bedroom.
No talk of the gusting branch.
We’ll walk with our hands in our pockets.
 
 
 
 


SARAH FAY is the winner of the Hopwood Award for Literature, the Center for Book Arts Poetry Prize, and the Poetry Center of Chicago’s Poetry Prize. Her writing appears in The New York Times, TIME, Bookforum, The American Scholar, The Believer, BOMB, The Iowa Review, The New Republic, The Atlantic, and The Paris Review.


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