by Iqra Naseem

Halfway through the horror movie,
the lights give out, the whole city
held under a blanket. Turning the other
cheek. Some phantom hand finds mine.
I will learn to love you softly is what
the house would say, its belly emitting
a quiet dust rumble, drops in the kitchen sink
like fingers drumming a wooden surface
and we learn to live with that.
All night we sleep under sheets
stapled to the mirrors and windows,
linoleum floors your bedmate. Tell me
stories of killer fish in the sewers,
dinosaurs crawling the moon’s pores,
turning off the lamp of your mouth,
every cool sweep of an unexposed beam
to the ocean breaking a pier outside,
its limbs washing away till noon
where we’ll find them tangled,
inspecting the damage bred by the storm,
learning to live with it.
Patting the curve of brick spine,
the elbowed staircase that remembers our steps.
The ghosts and the sighs of the hallway boards.
The mouth of a basin that never stopped
foaming and leaking.
I know that the doorway
is as deep inside you as we will ever get
and we learn to live with that,
thanking another day to remember
the names of all the constellations
you can see from the attic’s eye,
every jump scare and the darts of our stomachs
because I was selfish enough to love you unsound.