Today's poem is by Ruth Madievsky


Whenever I wonder whether our bodies
are more like paper or scissors,
whenever I feel like a long knock
on a slab of wood that hasn't decided yet
whether it wants to be a wall or a door,
I think about the hotel we stayed at
where I turned into bubble-wrap,
how night opened us
like the envelopes we are.
I have never claimed to be an oxygen mask
or the kind of person who understands
the difference between a tongue
and a tackle box, but I know
that there is ceremony
in the sound of a body being struck
like a match. When my dress
starts to feel like a manhole cover,
when the music in the room above us
turns out to be the ceiling fan,
I think of all the bathtubs we've entered
the way flags enter planets,
how we've been Windex-ed out
of each hotel room's history.
Sometimes I wake feeling like
a square of chocolate on a pillow,
other times like a hand towel
forced into the shape of a swan.
Mostly I am wishing
that empathy took shorter cigarette breaks,
that I understood it half as well
as I understand the need
to walk the corridors
of another person's flesh.

Copyright © 2015 Ruth Madievsky All rights reserved
from West Branch
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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