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Routine


                                                  < Issue 3 >

Routine
     by Sarah Myles Spencer

I.

Do not lift this veil too swiftly.
We are not made of disposable fabric.
Skin is toughened when worked
hard enough, but it all cracks in the end.

I notice this as I scrape my knuckles on the lid of a soup can, already shaking.
I haven’t eaten yet, but you are worse for wear. Those sores are not healing,
this guilt making nest in my oxygen.

I cannot breathe without weeping. The tears come so easily.
I remember when I used to push them backwater,
thickly clinging to my eyelids. I should have noticed then.

My, how things have changed.

II.

Death makes its presence known in a number of ways;
a dry heave over a pungent aroma. Fingers do what they have to,
no matter what instinct dictates. This is the way we fold
sheet corners. Make sure the skin stays supple. Turn every two hours.

There is a burgeoning call for home I naively pray I can stifle
with my laughter.

III.

Lately, you prefer the windows shut. I open them
while you are sleeping
and beg you not to escape
just yet.

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