I come home and for a moment before the door clicks shut
you don’t hear me. You go along singing Morrissey, cooking
what smells like potatoes, pouring Bulleit into a glass I bought.
For a moment before the door clicks shut I see the singular
of you. I could forget our entire life. Forget how we both
come home to this apartment, how the peeled grayish paint
on the door to number ten is yours and also mine. Two
exactly different humans on either side of thick bell jar glass.
I think to leave, to let you keep living, singing, stirring, sipping
as you are. I imagine closing the door inaudibly, hopping
back on the train—I’d go to a friend’s, or ride all night, or
book a ticket back to Chicago on a redeye flight and spend
the entire time in the air thinking about U-turns and cul-de-sacs
and reverse osmosis. Thinking how maybe I’d find another
person to share a life—that girl with the smallest hands I
was too scared to try, that boy who I made a marriage pact with
after our secrets were too ripe to swallow and the day
he turns thirty-five if we’re both single, we’d just do it, just
tie the knot. But then our kitten tries to escape out the door
so I have to close it, have to call out her name in a baby voice
reserved for this family. And as you hear me, you mute
the tune, call a hello, and I remember the story you told
about trying to ride a bike in Prague, tumbling, forgetting
what they tell you it’s impossible to forget. So I’m here now
and the potatoes are for me too. And I hate the apartment.
And I love having sides of the bed. And it all comes rushing in.
And I lock the door. And I latch the door. Shut us in for tonight.
And forget what I thought to forget. I forget it all but this.
Dana Alsamsam is a first-generation Syrian-American from Chicago and is currently based in Boston, where she works in arts development. A Lambda Literary Fellow, she received her MFA in poetry from Emerson College, where she was the editor-in-chief of Redivider and senior editorial assistant at Ploughshares. She is the author of a chapbook, (in)habit, and her poems are published or forthcoming in The Massachusetts Review, North American Review, The Shallow Ends, The Offing, Tinderbox, Salamander, Booth, and other journals.