she grew into this room as well as, but better than, up
in it; nothing has changed; there's nothing new
but the sturdy-handled wicker basket for dirty
clothes, two cup holders, a bell, and one book case.
same pretty pictures, all six rothkos, how bright this morning, smoldering
scoffs tonight; deceptions are verbs that require prepositions
like pre-positioned trip wires tied off between window ledge
and door's edge: she's been in here ten years now.
but there are blinds that louver open, ventilating slits, bits of light
for fears (and light) though it's a sharply inclined street and her closest
neighbor can see right up in, see her struggling, hear her inchoate scream.
the first time, afraid, he called the police; now richard waves "hello."
gadgetry galore, more than she wants, but it pleases him to give;
she wishes he knew what trip wires did, how four hours to get up
was not unusual; she wears quilts made soft from wash and wear
until the worn holes catch on toes and skin, then she trades them in.
all is cotton, organic if she's able, even what is stuffed in pillows, coverlets,
those quilts, and the softest hospital scrubs she wears beneath them. she's felt
this room as a topograph in braille billowy tufted, knows it equally well as from
a telephoto lens, focused on infinity. the first three years she served friends tea
from the metal bed, shrubs shiny green behind the blind behind her head
but they so wanted to see her dead (not "suffering" is what they said),
that tea-time died. so for that departed ritual, he brings coffees twice a day
but can't stay to talk. it's funny, so she laughs, and twirls the finest glass
in her imagination, for now food and drink arrives in plastic with exaggerated
grips, though it never was she who spilled colas or dripped italian gravies.
her secret is she's fond of stains, they're history, tell stories, remember when
you spilled the cola laughing so hard at the only joke i know?
she has a chair so powerful it only needs one working thumb. there
is a whole house she owns with him, she heeds the call of domesticity
but the wild lair calls her home more quickly now that she will not moan
in public, or scream squirm spasm moan squirm spasm, she just won't.
if she needs richness, she finds it, evidence of what was is dream close
or over there, framed; when she tires of her music, richard next door blares
staccato beats on sunny sundays and her man strums guitars and ukuleles,
saving the piano for rough nights: he's so kind it literally swells her heart.
he sings silly tunes and dylan, and when he thinks that she's asleep,
he sings tracy chapman, "baby can i hold you," and she almost goes
for lack of air, from silent sobbing i'm sorry, forgive me, i'm sorry, forgive me.
they're waiting, they're waiting for her to give up and sleep, forever, forever,
forever and a day, so the room can spin away, the room can be wall-less,
or a reading room, a solarium, or a music space, or empty but painted
orange or cobalt blue, and the windows can open, so richard can yell and be yelled
back at, laughing, saying "hello in there." she says: this room will not be tainted.
© 2013 L. Ryan