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Nobody’s Hell

by Rebecca Lu Kiernan

Our nights are nobody’s Hell.
We are civil in our silent dinner,
Clear the plates
And feed the nervous dog
Who cowers in her corner
Doing the math of (x) minus laughter
Plus a scowl (y)
Times muffled crying
Equals (z).

The neighbors are busy.
They smile and wave
Behind their tractors, rakes and brooms.
No one asks and we don’t tell.

We used to play Boggle
And make love
And dream so big, so bright
And trust the universe to get it right.

Now we watch t.v.
I mean we plan the shows
Tighter than the president’s schedule
So we don’t have a second to spare,
That our eyes might accidentally collide
To see the ugly empty stare
We know is dancing there.

We go to bed about thirty minutes apart.
Whoever gets there first
Pretends to be asleep
When the other comes.
I smell your hair.
I feel your breath.
I dream we are the couple
Who moved into this house.
I cannot recall
How we killed them
Or why,
Or if we allowed them
A trembly kiss goodbye.

We impersonate them so well.
Who are we kidding?
Our nights are everybody’s Hell.

Copyright © 2012 by Rebecca Lu Kiernan

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