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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.

from Thief in the InteriorFind more by Phillip B. Williams at the library

Copyright © 2016 Phillip B. Williams
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, LLC on behalf of Alice James Books.

Published in Phillip B. Williams Poems

This program is supported in part by a grant from the Idaho Humanities Council, a State-based program of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

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