At Home

Rachel Mennies

I don’t know how

I’ll ever tell you —

the heroine’s

just walked into the sea.


By lamplight, you read

your textbooks, your body

soft inches from mine:

our books we read


in silence, discuss

only in morning,

water boiling for tea

in the kitchen full of light.


The sheets re-bleached

to white each week, never

bought again new.

I must examine


each of our mistakes

before I erase them.

Two armoires,

for we require partition


to function, the gathering

and dressing

of our separateness.

Those good books


by my bedside, the ones

where the women turn

into birds,

into pillars of salt.


The heroine’s head

in the waves,

her arms empty

of offerings.


The Gulf opening

to her, warmed

and patient.

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