Northern Lights

I soak the clothes,
cold water a relief,
and slump in the hammock

peeling an orange, throwing the peels
into the coiled green garden hose.
The lights start up again.

We don’t need them.
A plump bird spits in the oven
dripping fat. Upstairs

you’re typing again: work noise,
the slow fan, a fine sweat
on your skin. I yell, Want anything?

but you don’t hear. From the road,
the smell of gasoline.
No one told us it was alarming,

this attrition
this chafing of cold, unironed sheets,
or that the sky whips itself for us:

clean pink welts, the sting of infection.
It steeps our house in its ray-light:
the woman fixed in her hammock,

the man who pretends to himself
he comforts her,
who does comfort her.

Chase Twichell

(from Northern Spy)


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