Emily Smith

railroad tracks always cut like zippers at night
clipping silhouettes of ink-blot riders
to shove between the pages of a telephone book
or a bible
it's no different tonight
me, him, the smell of gasoline soaking in the floorboards

he likes my shirt,
likes it when the stripes go that way--
i like it when he clips my thumb between two fingers,
his other hand finding me in the dark,
and then lets go

he holds everything like a cigarette.

the telephone rings in the hall
you should get that, he says,
voice crowded in his throat as he sits up
i forget about the darkness while i'm gone
and then he's beside me in a white wife-beater
shoulders cold porcelain,
hands on my hips

it's halloween somewhere outside
these dead-blue windows
he forgets, braces himself, forgets again
and then the sheets are unfolded, white and
cold through to the floor
that same cold porcelain--
that bathroom sink porcelain--
pinched between my knees

i can hear the train coming and listen,
surprised, too, at the noises i make.

everything is louder in the dark.

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