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emily, emily

by Brynn Dizack

wet shirtsleeve,
cuff stretched grotesquely
over my knuckles.
clear droplets form
at the tips of my hair,
tapping my thighs.

my brain tries to force a rhythm,
maintain some order--but
there isn’t enough to work with.

my boots squeak against the low table.
waiting room as purgatory:
nylon plants, beige in perpetua
magazines from five years ago, dog-eared and
vying for relevance.
their glossy colors cloy
against this backdrop, but
i understand their desperation.

see me, read me. i was once the authority on everything within myself.
i was once worth something.

am i still
?

i had been visiting
that afternoon, when you collapsed in the shower,
lithium-laden and murmuring,
soft-lipped & sea-foam behind your teeth
curtain rings snapping, the screech of metal against tile,
the guttural rubbing and high pitched squeal of your
skin against the tub. when i
sock-slid, panicked, into the doorframe, i couldn’t make out
the shape of anything human.
my eyes were prisms. the normalcy of a room evaded me,
hysterical, fractured, even as i rushed towards you.
what a funny thought,
that the water would just keep falling,
blindly on.

earlier, you had sewn that patch onto my shirt, meticulous and machinelike.
we had eaten bread with honey. you were focused. calm.

when i sew by hand,
it’s uneven and sprawling, like a child’s.
i’m learning to be gentle with my imperfections, but
your work embodied
order. predictability. perfection, safety. reassurance.
faith.

everything your sickness stole from you.

if the body was a book, how
to turn its pages (?)

back then, all i wanted was order. but
there was your foot, your hair,
the water falling.
i’m here, i said. i’m here, i’m here, i’m here.

today i wake up and look at my ceiling.
it is nearly sixteen years later.
the grief tips side to side. a secret, shhh.

twin wills. yours and mine.
i have not come this far to have only come this far,
we used to say. now i say it for you.

rituals of mo(u)rning:
thermostat. kettle. coffeemaker. i’m late to work because i cling to these comforts.
how long will i be healthy?
how long do i have left?

how easily can any words distill into “i’m sorry”?

01/11/2019

Posted on 01/11/2019
Copyright © 2019 Brynn Dizack

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