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Facets of Love: Two Poems

Facets of Love: Two Poems

by Rachel Swan

. 1 min read

Taphophobia

         Fear of being buried alive

I wash my face in the blue-
black light rouse children
from sweaty beds

dress them against the cold run
until lungs burn and legs
numb out I choke down

coffee scrub down sink salt
the fish in the dark
closet I replay

your stroke in my head
until 2 PM I think about dying
alone and clean at carpool

pick-up math packets match
socks bathe children read
stories kiss foreheads forget

their faces reshuffle and stack
the unopened bills let lights burn
all night I do not sleep

I pretend – it’s easier
you’re not here squeeze
your hand smile count out pills

forget our bodies bright
young and humming forget
you ever reached for me

with urgency pretend
you were never whole


Asymmetriphobia

         Fear of asymmetrical things

When your words failed last December, I knew it was over. Watching your mind struggle and spasm to find the words no longer there, I said goodbye to partnership, to parity. When you screamed after the nurses, eyes frantic and pleading for someone to understand your fragmented words, I knew there would never be a little house in Central California with chickens and dogs, succulents spilling out of terracotta pots on a creaking front porch. You, whole and sound and the future we carefully planned and held, perhaps too recklessly, dissolved in this, our single hour of change. And our children? Those beautiful bodies I carefully carried, birthed at home pink and perfectly fat, folded into my own body night after sleepless night – my very best effort at creation and care. Our children. They carry the same genetic mutation you carry, a switch that flips in a moment, a new hour of change haunting a future I just can’t trust. On the darkest nights, I crawl inside my closet and wonder how it will feel to watch their precious bodies fall apart one by one.

Tell me, what am I
to do with the rest of this
impossible life?

(Design: Josh Fowlke) (Editor: Rachel Swan)