One night
a shapeless form gathers
from the dark
and jabs a knife into my brain,
wounding the surface of thought.

I huff out breath,
shocked, speech locked,
wrapped in plastic
rolled in a carpet
stuffed in a barrel,
until images scratch
at the inside of my skull.

I rip abduction duct tape
from my lips,
stir the silences
lying in the whorls of my brain,
and listen to a grating voice
demanding ransom.

After the hard-shelled image
crawls down my shirt collar
like a cockroach,
I endure the pincers
digging into my back.
Blood flows across paper,
and the words I offer
to secure my freedom
slice my hand.

Night View

Shadow thoughts creep
from dark walls.
After a seething day,
I still burn
from volcanoes heaving chaos
and ashes across distant inland seas.

A nightlight
plugged under the medicine chest
casts a faint glow.
I suck down aspirin,
toss the crumpled paper cup
into the sink.

Outside, houses face the street
with shuttered desolation.

Sirens of disaster
break the night.
911 what is your emergency?
A car explodes on impact with a concrete barrier.
At the nursing home on the end of my street
another ancient crosses the finish line.

I drop the curtain and turn away, stung,
My feet feel
for each rung of the ladder,
down, down,
to the final step
beneath the floor.

With ache and hollow longing,
I stumble back to bed,
and reach into the patch of moonlight
pale across my pillow
where the warmth of you
used to be.

One Night in the Zika Zone

A breeze dusts
the rusty fire escape
and flutters curtains
inside her bathroom window.
The splashes finally stop.
She sighs and brushes a curl
from her own damp brow.

She lifts her baby’s flaccid body from the tub
and places it, dripping and still,
in the middle of the yellow terry shower mat.
She sees no trace of herself
in the flattened face
and stunted skull.

A pale halo of sunshine glints off
the medicine chest mirror.
She squints against the glare,
breathing a sweet cloud of talc
as she sobs and sprinkles white dust
over this ravaged remnant from her body.