Halves

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We move from room to room in halves–

              like burglars, approach doors and shadows

with caution, afraid of eyes blown open in anger,

               the unchartered guest room

where I find you coiled in sheets of white,

making a point of your distance.

 

And so everything becomes about distance,

                 bones pinned together in awkward halves

but never quite touching, so we are stiff-white

                  and irrepairable. Lying loose-haired in the shadows

of this fractured double room,

our silence breaks its anger

 

both knowing it is this anger

that has your back rising away. You keep your distance

packing for work, making enough room

for lateness. Already forgotten, dust-filmed halves

of human hearts beat in the bedside shadows,

two red shocks against wallpaper-white

 

and plonked between blister packets: those white

measured doses, cures for anger,

smiles inked on a prescription. Not your fault when the shadows

arrive, eyes blinking into the distance.

Remember the patients in slumped rows, leaning on other halves,

the nurse sighing your name through the waiting-room

 

only now there is no room

                for excuses like burning both ends. Your face could be white

with sickness, you could tell me how your life halves

         itself minute by minute, but where once I was patient, I feel only anger

and we find the disease is infectious. Eight-thirty, and in the distance

hills toss their lonely shadows

 

as you drive to work, those same shadows

                bruising your eyes, crossing the room

with an air of distance

                 that demands that no one asks questions. Cheap tie, off-white

shirt tucked in, you swallow a mug of hot anger

and return all good mornings in halves.

 

All the while you pretend to work, this room of white

      splits from the distance. I pack your half in a box marked ‘anger’, dump it

outside on the drive. Deep in the shadows of bloated clouds, something

                                        trembles and halves.

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