(after “Scenes from the Battle of Us” by Cate Marvin)
You are like a dream journal with an ellipsis
in the middle of an image of bruised knees
and being found crouching under the sink.
I am like a labrador
biting fast to the leash
because she’s tired
of useless mouths.
My mother made me floss even when it bled. You
can be the doorknob for my deciduous tooth. The roses
by the garage will bloom broad and bright soon.
Or maybe a vampire turning grey
in the sun, thinking that blood
allergies hardly seem worth
the bathers’ tan lines.
The reason why women keep diaries is the same
reason why men don’t: our fathers don’t know privacy,
and being thirteen changes the way the bed looks.
Perhaps I should
seduce you sleeping.
Then, you’d dream smiling.
Then, you’d dream forever.
When hide-and-seek turns the porch into
home base and children start to earn splinters
like medals, you will hear it calling you.
One voice like singing:
I’ll be smaller for you,
sweet. And again:
We could sink battleships.