The Watchtick Under the Stairwell
Sean Rys

Spring came & went. Summer went. Then the dreams began. Rowboat, dark scrim of water. The jukebox moon. At long last, a letter: in love, new family, don't write. The dreams began. Each night, the dreams. And the room shrunk as rooms do when nobody enters them. I entered. I stood with my back to the door. On the stereo: La Bohême. Don't write. In love. New family. Each thing equal to each other thing. Then rituals: keep the blinds drawn. No sunlight. Turn key three times in the lock. Touch only the white tiles, never the black. Tongue swollen now, heavy. The fear of drowning. The doctor comes. Young, recent apprentice. He doesn't know what to do. Sleeping pills, two-a-night, he says. Glass of water. He doesn't know, how could he. Each plane in the sky your plane. Must I think this way. Midnight, clocks lumbering. He'll be back, I said. Rowboat, silver trees on the shoreline. Barely afloat. Mimi sings to Rodolfo. White tiles, never the black. Bathwater spills from the clawfoot. Somebody's face in the mirror. Telephone, telephone. Upstairs, a stack of letters. Written, unsent. Scared of God, scared to undress in your absence. It's over. Tell me it's over. Hands and knees on the floor. The last candle snuffed out. Somebody calls from the attic. Any day now. Rodolfo, the key tucked in his pocket. Stay awhile, please stay. She turns, she walks away. Nobody stays. Thrown shingles of moonlight. The weight of it.