Murder is as soundless as a spout of blood, as regular and rhythmic as sleep.
Listen to that chasing: caterwaul, growl—
the cats sprinting the length of the wood floors,
slide, scramble, slam. When he rolls over
in the above room, we know the state:
sleep to catnap to wake. Bedspring wheeze and tick.
It settles and it’s night—3:33 a.m.—again.
The first time he slept alone we dreamed,
woke up heavy, unmoved for hours, limbs numb
and counted two new hands, six red gashes.
The first time he slept alone we slept without listening
to her getting up to pee every hour. There are eyes
that glitter in the night and beyond those eyes
a scuffle of thoughts. Nails flash,
teeth bite, voices hiss until
exhaustion lets limbs miraculously twitch
in the long run of darkness.
Laura Madeline Wiseman
Laura Madeline Wiseman is the author of ten collections of poetry, including the full-length book Sprung (San Francisco Bay Press, 2012) and the chapbooks Men and Their Whims (Writing Knights Press, 2013), First Wife (Hyacinth Girl Press, 2013), and Stranger Still (Finishing Line Press, 2013). She is the editor of Women Write Resistance: Poets Resist Gender Violence (Hyacinth Girl Press, 2013). Her poetry, short stories, essays, and reviews have appeared in Prairie Schooner, Margie, Arts & Letters, Poet Lore, and Feminist Studies. She has received an Academy of American Poets Award, a Mari Sandoz/Prairie Schooner Award, a Susan Atefact Peckham Fellowship, a Louise Van Sickle Fellowship, the Helene Wurlitzer Foundation, and grants from the Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts and the Center for the Great Plains Studies. http://www.lauramadelinewiseman.com
Photo: Sarah Ann Loreth, “What Serves You.”