— after Louise Glück, October (section 1)

Is it dawn again, is it day again,
didn’t we just quibble over last night’s covers,
didn’t we kiss, didn’t we make up the bed

didn’t I flatten the sheet
didn’t I tuck down your corner
so you won’t be left bare in the dark

wasn’t my clicking mind
slowed, didn’t it rest

didn’t the answer arrive unrequested,
like a subpoena,
typed and sealed —

I remember how we held the duvet
holy over the mattress, didn’t we agree on its direction,
didn’t the goose down sigh into place

I can’t hold this pose
for the cramping in my hips, the muscle fibers
digging into one another like nails into clasped hands,

can no longer pretend that the word wife
matches the dictionary definition that you memorized

how you name me can’t change who I am —

didn’t we go to sleep, wasn’t the bed
tidy and tucked when I turned in

didn’t we equalize the overhang,
weren’t we safe in this room,

the bed, was it perfect?

Susie Berg is the author of two full-length poetry collections, How to Get Over Yourself and All This Blood, both from Piquant Press, as well as three chapbooks, including a conversation in poetry with Elana Wolff from Lyrical Myrical Press. Her work has appeared in print and online, most recently in carte blanche, Juniper and The Westchester Review, and in the anthologies Resistance, Body and Soul and Desperately Seeking Susans. More: + @SusieDBerg