Cate Marvin


What a mother of a cloud the sky
             has dumped on us tonight: a pig fat
with fleece, adrowse in its dankness,
             suspended above us like a Zeppelin
fattening on the verge—I lie wet


as stripped flesh, open to the fog
             that drapes my window with gauze,
begging for a sleep thick as syrup.
             A clock types, a typewriter winds
backwards through old scrolls, humming


its melancholy distraction. Green bottle
             languishing in the cabinet, you want
my veins pulled though with wire
             of bluish fire: Dreams of parrots
await you, a slumber to outnumber


all waking days awaits you. The day,
             all its doings and dids, unravels its
ill-fitting sweater, as the sweetness
             burns through the tongue, sinks past
heart to ignite a tiny fire in the belly’s


cave. It makes a bright hollow. It shuts
             the latch of throat, smoothes breath out
so it may pass lips without catching
             on gasp. I thrash up from bed, cough
until out my mouth bursts green feathers,


and I cough all the parrots out. I cough
             up childhood, its roller-skates, its curled
grubs tucked wet in matted leaves. Now,
             another slipper, a finger, a nip, again
a sip of that platonic kiss. Dousing all


my coughs out. Cool sheets cusp my
             neck: mother’s hand. I am forgetting him
and I am forgetting them. Wait a long
             while before you find my face, wait before
you slap me awake with patient sunlight.



NyQuil” was first published in POOL.