our curtains are always pulled shut. When I wake,
it’s to the sound of metal scraping stone.
Bulldozers tear chunks of brick
from the building next door. You say,
We’ve lived here too long, & you might be right:
the sheets are slowly stiffening, the headboard creaking
away from the frame. Your hair shakes out sawdust
when you climb on top. Everything we own together
is covered in film—the lint on the radiator, the spit
on my neck, debris outside our windows, grime
in the hall where you’ve tracked your work back in.
I live in a plash of various salts from your body. I burrow
despite your leaving. I say, You smell like dirt, but mean,
Your teeth are square blessings
when they graze. Tomorrow morning will be
just like this. You will thank my earlobes for liking
the touch. You will thank my elbows for bending
that way. Even though you are leaving
me, this will not be a gesture of solace.
Even on your neck the scent of pine.
by Raena Shirali
Raena Shirali is from Charleston, SC, and currently lives in Columbus, OH, where she is earning her MFA in poetry at The Ohio State University. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Banango Street, The Boiler, Boston Review, Fogged Clarity, Four Way Review, Ostrich Review, Pleiades, and The Nervous Breakdown. She recently won a 2013 “Discovery”/Boston Review Poetry Prize.