Under Covers

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Under Covers

I always hated being under covers.
A frightened girl, tucked in bed
scarves tied to keep everything
in perfect place.
Believing in ghosts,
hoping for vampires,
I hid in corners, closets
and once in the back of my best friend’s mom’s
rusty hatchback.

But never under covers.
At least not all the way.
It’s awful under there. Scarier than out,
close and hot.
You can’t see what’s coming
until it already has you.
Covers.
NIghtmare-making fabric coffins.

But here I am
asking and
grateful for and
happy under covers.
Someone else’s covers.

His aren’t the heavy, damp clinging ones
I always knew.
Where your own sweat constricted and pulled and tightened
your own suffocation.
These, his, are loose and linen
light and kicked off and
breathed through.

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Covers I want under.

And I don’t understand.
I’m afraid of covers.

I know I can’t survive under there.
Febrile and scratching and anticipating
worse than what really is.
And I know I can’t sleep above them
lying above them, raw, exposed
cold and threatening numb.

But under covers?

So many arms and legs
throats and necks
dark rents
So many.
There can’t be space for everyone
to exchange,
because my ribs are always convinced
that there’s not enough room and
a cover might as well be a corset.

Am I learning to breathe under there?
Because I am
washing sheets and tumbling dry
watching them fall and
willing the corners to curl around me.

Under covers seems finite
Only so much air
only so much pushing protection
enveloping escape
releasing rescue.
One day, some day, the air may be gone.

May.
But today
I want to crawl under.
I want to stay and listen
for ghosts.
No longer hoping for vampires.

Instead, wanting
the quiet and heat and feeling good
feeling me, reaching us,
allowing our under space
wanting to last
as long as the covers will hold.

 

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