Issue 2
The Hands Are Dropping

The Hands Are Dropping

The hands are dropping

– Polish phrase meaning “I give up”

My hours are split between the time
I try to sleep,
and that I try to keep awake.
You have to remember—
as hand is dropping—

I am not well,
but I am myself.
If you call me,
I’ll answer every second.

Let me touch your face, say it doesn’t hurt,
think up a storm, think up a tree.
I’m on the third dream,
where six hands are dropping,
and in this one I’ve been banished

to the next county,
but am sneaking back, disguised,
and I say hello with a brick balanced
on each shoulder,
as four hands are dropping,
of course someone

someone catches on, and catches me,
They brand me with a two-fingered hand,
on my back, as if that could melt me
into a warning. I don’t remember the end.

The next evening you say I said
sorry in my sleep that night, all night.
Why are we all still here? I figure
it’s a marble somewhere that hesitates
on a mountain,
and your hands are dropping one-by-one.
{stanza break}

Who coughed
by the window while we
whispered in bed? We don’t ask
(my hands drop all at once).
The galaxy is on the ceiling in its entirety,
you point it out at dusk.

I take your arm, it’s mine and you hold
my eyes in one cupped hand.
We share heat, 200 degrees or thereabouts,
then we hear the hands all dropping hard,
just above the ceiling and the galaxy sags.

But there isn’t enough caffeine
in the world today
and maybe I’ll make it to work on time
or sleep at CVS for an hour,
take what they give me and pay for it
wake up confused and ready to bleed out.
When I’m late to the office, I hear 17 hands drop.

On the way home, I run over
hand after hand in the truck.
And there are a couple of hands gathering up
some other hands,
and dragging them to the sidewalk.
They crawl home and are never
seen again.