I've gotten used to the sight of your back:
The smooth whale of your left shoulder cresting the blankets
The swash of spine embossed in your skin.
It too dives beneath the covers,
But I know where it goes.
Bones, a scar
A shoulders-to-coccyx zipper I'd pull gently down
And, rather than you spilling out
(maybe this is why you sleep on your stomach)
I'd jump in
In, to where I've spent too little time.
To scramble up ribcage rungs to your Adam's apple and tickle it with my beard
To listen to your heart's chatter and puff, and add a flutter
To cover your skin in glitter
To stir your ashes with my bare feet
To upend your butter churn
To nest in your navel
To tongue the groove that holds your vinegar and pepper
To tempt you, you.
And to read with fingertip brushes the story told in Braille by the rod in your spine that keeps you aimed at the sky.
A zipper, a whale, an ear in a jungle of hair.
This is what I see from my side of the bed
As I stare at the scar
Which you have said
Is now closed to me.
I am sleeping with a clothespin on my nose
Because the pillowcases still smell of your dreams
And the sheets of your skin
And without you here to nourish them
These scents wither
Into the wicked fug of gone.
I am walking with clothespins in my mouth
In cold dry sun
To the line
Where I will hang these sheets
Damp and deboned
Until they're ordinary again
Drained of significance by soapy water and air.