For Tony Hoagland
She curls out of bed and onto the couch
at ten-thirty in the morning in her pajamas
with skulls and snowflakes falling on a field
of black fleece. She’s sitting cross legged,
folding at the waist to grasp the can of tobacco.
Coffee cup in right hand, tin in left,
trying to retrieve a rolling paper through
the dense fog of waking, trying to switch
#1 and #3, unable to think to use
the coffee table for its intended purpose.
She must have dreamed of war again,
her hand stretching toward the poison
king’s biography—trying to divine
his secrets of immunity, or the recipe
for Greek fire is burning through her mind.
The end of every story is loss, but I revel
in her now—the way her fingers swish over
the pages; digging for secrets as chipped
as her fingernail polish; the curve
of her hips, begging to be cupped.
Photo by Philippa Willitts