Maggie Rue Hess
He started writing with his fingernails one October,
sharpened them on excuses empty of regret.
In November he purged his dresser, wardrobe, desk,
binged in fluorescent lights holding the trash bags
filled from the guilty furniture.
One month later he was an immigrant of the gray landscape,
thrilling the bones he’d made brittle from domestic habit.
For my eyes, only yours
repeating the day’s chord
thrum of meals, conversation, distraction…
…the form of shoulders
the absence and misinformation
blotted in notebooks
Eyes, disks weighted with adoration
tipping upward in
the movement expected of children and lovers,
have no place at breakfast.
It’s just another kiss, greeting
the rim for a sip, wanting the blood to buzz;
don’t ask me to stay.
We all have untidy hampers, no need
to remind us of the heap. I leave
my earrings all around the apartment,
shiny debris of the workday glinting
from its busy spillage. The unfinished
drinks on my counter are an ode
to the ever-filling sink, its dirty dishes,
rough hands always washing.
Show all your teeth,
That shows enough.
But she stared too straight
for the flat-lined words
skimming off her lips.
Feeling fatherless lately,
she should’ve said.
Maggie Rue Hess (She/Her) is a graduate student living in Knoxville, Tennessee, with her partner and their two crusty white dogs. Her work has previously appeared in Rattle, Minnesota Review, Connecticut River Review, and other publications; her debut chapbook, The Bones That Map Us, is forthcoming from Belle Point Press in 2024. She likes to practice latte art and share baked goods with friends.