Now is the time for a cigarette,
but my asthma won't have it.
Before waking, the bathroom,
ears ringing before breakfast and
the treacherous course of the day,
again I fight so desperately, for what?
Again I scratch my sister’s chest,
red scrape, red gash, jealous apostrophe.
The pink scar shows in her prom pictures,
pink gown, red satin jacket
my mother made at the kitchen table,
sewn with the grey Kenmore
Santa brought her one year.
Again the necklace, shattered,
Shell hand-painted over Schaefers.
Again I press my ignorant, knowing body
against thin shower curtains.;
Again I drop straw hat, fedora pretender,
from the car on the way to the Catskills,
held out to feel the rush of the mountains.
Safe, awake now, no two points alike,
no phone chords connect my orange quilted throw
to the plaster conquistador lounging
in somebody's second-hand life.