cate marvin

 

AFTER THE LAST FRIGHT

 

 

I carved upon my desk unsayables.

He drank until he vomited on himself.

Eavesdropping, the others resisted sleep.

The house knew the pain of sun on lacquered floorboards.

 

I carved it with the tips of scissors.

A door creaked; he hung his head into the room.

Please, the others cannot sleep.

The shingles twitched like skin beneath moonlight.

 

I spent the afternoon at a movie theater.

He staggered through brush toward a pay phone.

The others continued searching the streets for him.

The house held the moon above it, it was that imperial.

 

I recall the room was empty when I came back in.

He was arrested at the QuikTrip while calling collect.

Frantic, the others circled the block again.

The house was ghost white, older than the dead.

 

I needlepointed for 72 hours straight.

He claimed the whole situation humiliated him.

Relieved, the others refrained from asking him what jail was like.

The house was swan to field, tiger to sea.

 

I lay in bed by the time the others came home.

He didn’t recall putting on the orange jumpsuit.

The others asked if I’d seen him around.

The house shuddered, No-o-o-o.

 

The house winced, winked its blinds.

The house whispered I should stay inside.

The others flew out the doors and into their cars.

The others slammed their cars into deer and cried.

 

He was more humiliated than he’d ever been.

He looked more or less the same, though his eyes were ringed.

The others hid in the basement.

He climbed the stairs and presented a ring.

 

The house swung its windows wide to ice.

He banged his nails blue, pinned his tongue to his tie.

He packed himself in a box, sent it to regions far off.

The others pressed their ears to the pipes.

 

The house wore its flames like a hat.

The house called a radio talkshow.

We drank all night, laughed all night, the night he left.

I shook in its mouth till the house drank me up.