She squeezes a thimble
of space between forefinger and thumb;
it was that close. Weyland, still rigid,
pats with amorphous fingers for the wart on the face
of the otherwise untouched, anodized wall to scatter
her into a lattice of threaded light
The government maintains a one hundred and forty word limit
per person, per day, in effort
to get people to shake hands
and kiss more often.
It’s why I didn’t say hello to her that time –
I’d already used forty nine.
Weyland’s headlight flits across debris
of Kubrick, Noé, and glassware stained rust,
crocheting neon purple stars in the dark room
until I remember that she’s about to smile.
This time, I point to the W embroidered
on my clothes, proof of my work,
to get her to let me see that beautiful thing
that tugs on the corners of her lips.
She points to Weyland behind me
and brings an invisible spoon to her mouth.
I am adjusting well.
It’s when she stops talking
that I know her limit has been reached.
I whisper I love you thirty two times
through swollen fingers that hold my mouth closed
to let me listen to her breathe for thirty two seconds after
until Weyland scrapes against that dimpled recess which
scatters her into a lattice of threaded light again.
A torch pops
and cracks at the heat of my waist.
I clasp my hands, eyes shut,
finding a pew in the bench.
I can picture rusted copper bullet nags
bucking and braying in gun smoke jackets,
the tremor quickening my heart
until I’m once again reminded what sleep feels like.