VARIATIONS ON A MINOR DOMESTIC THEME
by leah neiboer
say we were smoking something in the kitchen windows closed
table between us not thinking of repercussions. say an accelerant say you closed
the space. full up nowhere to go now we’re talking what’s right here
hiding in you. right thumb catching my left clavicle.
what’s hiding is hiding left thumb right clavicle.
now just hold on hold your breath count to three.
say a composition that aligns itself around mystery is likely
to succeed. you agreed loosened your grip took a slow drag with me
keeping it in a long while letting it go for obvious reasons
say the smoke fills the room my throat your hands. an uptick
of hours slide past in the haze its slow maceration its softening
its separation of
memory’s architecture what it loved. the vaulted ceiling
wide open rooms slick floor velvet sofa each corner.
how its scaffolding was ambitious of.
a future can be cleared out teased apart evenly divided.
say instead I draw a bath.
say you can have whatever you want. a permanent lightness a utility a
luxury we slide hotly into. we are soothed by the tamarind and mint.
we are turning us over in our palms honey I swear we are opulent.
inside what’s inside. not clutching anything. our cells commingling
on the surface not pushed up against a concrete wall ourselves
not a wall not hurricane ready. it lasts and lasts.
love being a tide being a pendular insanity a race to absolute
zero. the means of measurement are laughable. I’m serious are you
going out are you leaving. give me a break a good hard look
grazes my cheekbone like a comet like a warning shot.
is that a dare. a deformation of the tides. the potential of
the geoid folding. who’s first to call a limit to give
an ultimatum are you leaving.
Leah Nieboer grew up in Iowa. She is a PhD candidate in English and Literary Arts at the University of Denver, an editorial assistant for Denver Quarterly, a graduate of the Warren Wilson MFA Program for Writers, and the recipient of a Virginia Center for Creative Arts Fellowship.