Let there be spaces in your togetherness
Kahlil Gibran


In the end, I suppose I’ve made the life I have and
it’s frivolous to blame the fates. You made


your bed…my mother used to say, neatly, with
my every rising infraction when she wasn’t


threatening to send me to a home for wayward girls
for stealing makeup, for staying out too late. But


now, here I am, decades later, awake in an unmade
bed, humidity soaking the sheets, because


the air conditioner is broken and it’s the end of
summer, so you, ever practical, don’t want to buy


a new one now, prefer instead to sleep comfortably,
guiltless, in the cooler living room, a heap of


old quilt, pallet on the floor, too hard for me, freeing
yourself from my obstinate, sticky closeness—


because, of course, we agree that each should have
total freedom, as I search my mind for a possible


other reason (bored? angry?)—along with our dog
who dreams vacation, camping trip, though she’s on


perpetual vacation, lolling in separation, and
we, well, what does it mean, I hope it doesn’t mean,


this disfranchise, this far along in this thing we’re in,
that you, domestic thief, can’t or won’t take the heat.

Author: Susana H. Case