Help me distinguish between approaching blizzard
and his breath against my ear, causing my skin
to whistle like a blade of grass. Please, help me keep
my mind at ease when he trembles beneath me, cold-
hot and wet, wet all over. The sheets have been
soaked and wrung and bleached. The carpet
vacuumed, the kitchen floor swept. God, help me keep
a clean home, keep the roaches’ running prayers
from competing with my own, keep the rats
from gnawing on the bread with filth and squeak.
Plastic won’t keep ice crystals from making
a second pane over the window, won’t keep
the don’t-give-a-damn cold from coming in
and lingering beneath our feet. Give me feet
that can sing, that can sing all over this floor
like a drum battalion, stomp out the pests
and their late night coitus, stomp out winter
crawling from beneath the floorboard, stomp out
the fever pouring from his never-dry back.
I want to heal like You do. God, let me walk on water.
Copyright © 2016 Phillip B. Williams
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, LLC on behalf of Alice James Books.