I watch my ceiling fan slowly churn molasses air into something unbreathable,
and know that the sewer grate outside will never stop swallowing
the quiet multitudes of people who have lived
below me, their cats sitting in the window escaping the solitude of ownership.
I hear the distant grating of my mom telling me she will die, or maybe it’s
the engine of Sam’s 1997 Lincoln Zephyr refusing to turn over again.
I try to stick my fingers in the ears of my memory,
rereading the same poem I’ve returned to for years.
In any case, this isn’t the Target baby clothes section
and that conversation belongs in aisle 4, sandwiched between
asking for grandchildren and asking what wine I want with dinner.
Who should I tell that to?
I wander from one room to the next in the apartment where death and I
chatted about our future over Starbucks coffee brewed in my $15 pot,
and conjure up the map I will carry with me when I leave this place.
Three bedrooms, two bathrooms, a kitchen, living room, and porch.
I gather cobweb coated memories to my chest, wanting their silvery
moonlit threads to forever fix me to this space and this moment.
I run tired fingers along 13 plants stuck to my windowsill.
I think I was happy here once. In fact, I know I was.
As I drink warm Pepsi from a reusable straw that doesn’t feel right
in my mouth, I think about who I should tell that I count the
number of steps it takes to get to my car every day,
another tick left over from Target conversations.
I don’t want to leave my mom in aisle 4, so close
to the grandkids she wanted.
I don’t want to know death as the only friend I can count on
to be there when the time comes for me to go.
I’m scared of forgetting where I’ve left myself,
so I’m leaving pieces of me with
the Barefoot Moscato we had at dinner,
the cats in the window, and you.