attached by veins. I imagine ribbons
twisted. More than once, my brain
reduced to ribbons, humming
all night wanting a way out.
Sometimes I stared at objects
smashing them inside my stare.
Imagined toppling the television
off its little plastic pedestal
or cracking secondhand plates
hard on soft linoleum
when toddlers wouldn’t let me sleep,
the lilies stopped me like stars—
ghost-white ones I bought
from the dollar store, cut up
and hung upside down attached
by satin ribbons, falling from the ceiling.
They watched over the whole industry of us:
hustling woman with exhaustion and children
who grew and grew against
my dissatisfaction winding its way through
the apartment like a snake.
Against my panics, they learned to finally sleep,
legs lengthening every night.