How To Keep Full In February
Michelle Gottschlich

from How To Keep Full In February

for Ben

a sunflower sprouts in my sink
over the disposal. is it a surprise? fed on

coffee grounds, carrot ribbons, egg shells,
bitter orange rinds—my love’s the sort

that shoots up anywhere
there’s an empty spot.

i let the dishes stack for days,
how could i not?

the silver basin just
grinning with sun.

at night my love’s a thin barn owl,
fed on crickets and diaphanous bugs.

it’s the sort that’s hungry and patient,
listens to the moths discuss

how long it’d take
to gut a horse completely.

i eat candy before bed
to raise the odds of lucid dreaming.

as i sleep i check the faces
of every clock to find all

hieroglyphs, squiggles,
handwritten letters, and then

a fragile sense of surface. i beg you
here to my dream’s shuddering tense

but instead—a farm. a mare grazes
the frozen fauna, her back and belly bowed

almost to the ground.
it’s always her last winter.

oh sweetheart, time has a feast of us,
releases pain’s rotted and unfair sugar.

but of course it would. how could it not?
remember us brushing our teeth

as we slow-danced in a squeezed circle.
my eyes were tight and brine covered.

i couldn’t stop a smile.
it left a stain on your t-shirt.