The Hush Is Carnage
by Barbara Ann Smith

Nights are long and the hush is carnage;
I pull covers tight against my chest
and make up riddles to drip sounds
coming from the bathroom faucet. Turn
to the empty spot he'd left earlier
and burrow deep to trap the warmth
of his body, not knowing why I yearn
for his heat. The sting of affection
burnt out long ago and an imaginary
barrier sleeps between us at night.
Words spoken are outbursts in nightmares,
nothing more.

There are no fights or affairs, we're
strangers, yes, strangers, sharing a bed.
I wake one morning to a mute and I was
never clever enough to break his silence.
There are no leg holds or foot play
and my body's icy from hugging chilly
sheets and dreading to sleep face to face
with an unfamiliar person. Nights are hikes
through an arid region, no water and no logic
for being there. I lie awake and wait for
the brilliance of the sun to warm my spirit
and kick myself for not leaving.

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