David Roderick

44 Standish Avenue

Can’t I make something
of her bed, our sleep,
and the white seam
opening between us,
our shared afternoons
in the rendition house
where nursing ended
and trying-to-be-perfect
began, when I was swept
into forbiddance,
then tucked down,
her body my lean-to
after an hour of knitting
(in which her voice
vibrated accordingly),
not long before
I borrowed her Irish sigh?
She was the spine
and I was the cross
and both of us knew
the curse of a blind
mole burrowing.
When we lay with each other
in her bed,
the point was to be still,
not to sleep, but she fell
anyway while animals
passed over us, plastic stars.
Above I saw a spider’s
testimony, and pink walls,
until in my first dream
a crow landed on my chest
and pecked at my face,
meaning, as I now believe,
that I should have listened
when she said this is how
you burrow, this is how
you knead, this is how you
hold your breath in a tunnel.

David Roderick
“44 Standish Avenue” first appeared in Salt Hill, #26.