Sleeping Over // Poetry

sleeping over

All her glasses were dirty–
like the sippy cups swimming in the sink in my apartment.
Though hers drained downturned on her windowsill,
I’d brought my water bottle, and we’d gone out for drinks.

We reclined on her couch in our lacy night things,
sliding fingers through each other’s hair.
But behind us there functioned another world:
wood windows shredded and left in the pane–
a habitat of carcasses turning to dust.
A spider had webbed its fellow creatures,
fanged them, and dropped their indigestibles.

Val’s apartment has seen fifty years.
It has character, yes, but its corners hoard a question:
Had I never married the husband of my youth–
but did it so young–then suffered his schooling
and nursed our young, would I inhabit a studio, too,
fearlessly facing my clock’s unwinding?
I’m proud of her for supporting herself
because I’ve never taken care of myself.

I was meant to be a mother,
to grow from lion-tamer into teacher.
But she gathers her strength from quiet moments,
trusting her own voice among life’s noise.

The husband of my youth once squeezed
in my phone booth a decade ago and proposed.
For a second I wondered whether I was ready
to dive into the world and be an adult.
But I was, and we did, and we’ve grown ever since.

Yet I love her, and so I wondered
whether we could just help wash each other’s dishes.

Catherine Zickgraf
I write because I am an artist who cannot paint or sing. Being a woman connects me to ancient life-givers—I grow in the hands of many women and nurture some young ones who need me.”

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