The Shakes

Your room is always dark. Even when I turn the switch on, the shade is so heavy and the bulb so dim that the lamp only makes shadows of everything.

I run my finger along the dust on your desk. I hold back the urge to scrawl my name in your dirt. The dust clings to my pinky and I wipe it on your shirt, the one you were wearing the last time I saw you. It hangs on the bedpost like a reminder, a ghost of you with loose arms and wrinkles and a fading marker stain on the right sleeve.

Your bed is cold and it sinks down in the middle. I sit on it like the captain of a boat, looking straight ahead for signs of land but I see only myself staring back through your streaky mirror. I rock back and forth, arms folded inside themselves, legs crossed, a piece of hair caught on my dry lip. I touch your pillow, examine its drool stains.

I imagine that you’re here and we’re talking about diamond rings and forever. You tuck my hair behind my ear, annoyed that it ends up in my mouth all the time. I promise to get a hair cut. You promise to introduce me to your friends. I stop imagining because it makes me feel like someone kicked me in my side.

I touch the snowglobe on your desk, the one with the taxicabs and skyscrapers and synthetic snow falling down on plastic people. I shake it and shake it and shake it and the snow falls and falls and no matter how hard I shake, the little people always smile and the little taxi never goes anywhere.

I crawl back into your bed and remember the way it felt to have your arm draped across me all night. I remember how the bottom of your feet were all cracked and hard and how you sometimes laughed in your sleep. I try to feel it, try to will myself to feel the weight of your arm on my stomach, to hear the dry whisper of your last good night.

It’s starting to snow now, light puffs of white slapping against the window. I imagine I’m in a snowglobe and I’m always smiling and the clock never moves and the headlights never appear outside the window, making me tumble from the bed and towards the back door like someone just shook my world.

All the text herein is copyright © 2004 Michele Catalano. All rights reserved. All art herein is copyright © 2004 Justin Brejwo. All rights reserved.