SOMEWHERE, GOD SLIDES OFF A NIGHTGOWN
BY DAN HANEY
I let the sunrise steep.
Each morning, a mug of coffee
I palmed but didn’t drink. If you stayed
asleep, I’d slough off infidels
for hours on our muted television,
wait for you to notice my heat signature
no longer pressed against your back.
This became my new normal:
you wore only a bath towel
for the entire day. I slipped the knot,
pinning cloth to rib,
and you didn’t mind.
I convinced myself nothing existed
beyond this town’s drowsy borders.
Somewhere south, my brother
took a safety razor to his thigh,
and I didn’t care.
I rolled out the paisley blanket
as Lake Cayuga’s cold breeze
cracked over us. We drank wine
in the afternoon and fell asleep
in public. I grilled chicken in the rain.
Somewhere, my mother asked
for money, and I disconnected my phone.
I acted like I knew how to choose
the most delicious pomegranate.
The gorges bursting through town
were so beautiful they enclosed
the bridges with chicken wire.
We trespassed along the reservoir,
found a tire swing, and I forgot
about my father. Your silhouette,
as it dissolved a half-step behind you,
navigating the blackness towards our bed.
Our monotony an aubade that taught me
my hands could do something other than hurt.
You shaved the divots of my back
I couldn’t reach. I tackled you
in the cherry orchard, slathered
the juice against your skin. You clasped
and unclasped my belt, leaned in
when we kissed. I can’t remember
why I ever read the headlines.
Lord, I don’t care where you drop bombs
so long as it isn’t here. Who could bear
to interrupt this temporary dusk
as it broke over us and yoked to dawn?
We slept through.
Dan Haney, born in Pennsylvania's coal country, earned his MFA from Vanderbilt University, where he served as the Editor-in-Chief of Nashville Review. His most recent work has appeared in North American Review, Pleiades, and Ninth Letter. He has received scholarships from the Sewanee Writers' Conference and the Bucknell Seminar for Younger Poets. He lives and works in Ithaca, New York.
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