Why They Sleep In Separate Rooms
Poem By Katie Finley
Swinging between them both, their big hands engulfing
my pudgy little ones.
underneath the rainbow tunnel, holding
my breath. redwoods emerge
on the other side—good, full.
tide; conches rolling in the tide:
flow, ebb beneath desperate,
the reflection momma’s ring casts,
prisms dancing, miniature ballerinas
on the naked walls daddy would never let us mar.
wearing that ugly, ill-fitting
purple frilled shirt and I smile, teeth too naked
and exposed, meeting momma’s eyes in the mirror:
Thank you. It’s special.
mini earthquakes in his arm as he holds
my hand. because I am special.
a halo of cotton candy, pale pink against a bright blue sky,
daddy lifting me onto the carousel.
big king-sized bed empty when daddy’s in india or australia or china.
the pillows cradling
his profile, reeking of sweat but deceivingly cold.
big cities. cement towers and dwarfs.
grown men sleeping in twin beds.
alone—twin bed—big city.
momma growing older as she hears
his voice; miles of old gray telephone cord enslave her wrists.
weeping on the toilet, grasping
toilet paper in a foolish attempt to erase
raw red half moons.
it’s a circus.
little girl on the dancing lippazan
all flashes of white hooves, white mane, stepping
high. but it’s so hard
they weren’t supposed to