Ghost Limb

    Depression is boring, I think.
      -Anne Sexton

Happiness is boring, I think, an oasis
between sand and the close-fitting heat.
Between the shuffling din
of big city traffic and tail lights
that blink in a motionless draw.

I don't trust the way the days canter up,
but I'm afraid not to want it. Afraid I'll forget
where the mouth goes, where the muscle binds
tight to the bone. That I'll build a house
only to set it aflame, the cat's unearthly howl
in the quick-talking blaze.

Each day I wake in the same bed,
the ceiling white, the light in the window
like warm cream. The cat paws at my lover
who pulls me to his chest. I hold
his hand. I know the source
of my restlessness but do not
name it,

while dawn breaks with the same
fleshy flourish as a heart
opened wide with a knife, stuck forever
on the note it began.

  -Erin Elizabeth Smith