Early Winter, Before (II)

Rachel Mennies

After we stop

touching, I count

your slowing breaths, listening

for your descending sleep

before I reach

for myself in longing —

quietly, so

you do not wake.

This kindness

is the sort

that cannot thaw.

I am ice all over,

the dead tree frozen

and reaching up

to our bedroom window,

and I am also the axe.

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