by Grace Dilger
I tried my best to be quiet, I said, opening
our bedroom window and stepping onto the rusted
fire escape, arms full of dirty carpet.
You’re no good at it, you called into the passage
of open air, dark daylight churning all around
us like a dream of a friend’s mother
drowning or the wrong person pressed, as a shell
to a snail, on your backside.
I release the rug the way a patient does their tongue,
consenting to the wooden stick of a stranger wanting
to help. Three stories down, our neighbor, a 5th grade
math teacher, smokes his first of the day if the day breaks
when your last dream ends.
Our skin, tortilla chips, bud ash, the city’s refuse from guest’s boot
tracks sprinkle Sam, who is contemplating all the possible lines
of symmetry of a tulip.
He doesn’t register the nasty confetti until I hit
the ground with a errant, sourdough twisty-
tie I could have sworn I left right there.
Grace Dilger is a poet and professor at Monroe College. Her work has been featured in Peach Fuzz Magazine, The Brooklyn Quarterly, The Southampton Review, Grody Mag, The Elevation Review, Proud to Be: Writing by American Warriors Vol. 9, Slug Mag, The Racket Journal, Yes Poetry, and the forthcoming issue of Poetry City Vol. 10. She received her MFA from Stony Brook University.