You’ve nodded out at dinner again,
having just used or needing more—
the shell of you collapsing. I want to trust
your alphabet of lies, my denial a cardigan
pulled over brown shoulders. I console you
like a mother, I know, love, I know.
At the Thai restaurant, I push
slippery noodles and steamed vegetables
around my plate, watch you bob—
a broken machine, your slow-motion hand
torpid towards your fork. You can’t
seem to find your mouth so I
flag down our waitress, who pretends
not to notice you’re boneless. She presses
our leftovers into neat, white boxes. Outside,
August marinates our skin, evaporates
my compassion. I stand under streetlights
in a yellow dress, fling expletives at you,
wet artillery rolls off your shrugging
shoulders. You are enemy, slumped
into yourself, an accident. I want to push you
into traffic, make you disappear
until I remember you want that too.
Rage Hezekiah is a New England based poet and educator, who earned her MFA from Emerson College. She has received fellowships from Cave Canem, The MacDowell Colony, and The Ragdale Foundation, and is a recipient of the Saint Botolph Foundation’s Emerging Artists Award. She is a 2018 Vella Chapbook Award Winner, and her chapbook Unslakable is forthcoming with Paper Nautilus Press. Her debut full-length collection, Stray Harbor (Finishing Line Press) is also forthcoming in 2019. You can find out more about her writing at ragehezekiah.com.