She rearranges his voice into chords,
into a strange jazz she is willing to hear,
a form of organization that takes courage
and leaves her with what is only musical
for a time. The room builds up an energy,
not from the sound of him but from the
collapsing space, the walls pushing in
and her hoarse voice falling, clunking
onto the ground without her, her lips
chapping and the glue wearing thin;
he zigzags into her again but she isn’t
listening. She adores the black song
on her radio instead, the saxophone hip-
dancing onto the counter between them,
the babble of nuance moving through pipes
and valves, the rhythm of lopsided feeling.
She is listening to that, and to the halves
of herself binding together into the noise
of the room, and yes, she is willing to
hear his faraway words with her warrior
heart, willing to let him choose her
for his fantasy, to be his bottle of song,
his break from the bruised sunset he sees
from his window. She understands that
what has happened inside her is not
bitter or broken, but that the elastic
of her longing has grown dry and
there is music enough without him.

Lauren Camp