Portrait as Streetlights Bloom

I don’t know what I am doing. I look at pictures
of my younger self and say “this is
the last time” before folding them into smaller

versions of me. I am filling bottles
to their proper lines. I am washing
my dishes in clockwise motions, and the crumbs,

too, circle the drain in similar ways. I move from
room to room half-expecting to find
answers scratched into red wallpaper. Canine hair

gathers at the baseboards. Clumps. One light turns
on revealing dust. One light turns on,
revealing the dusty truth: I don’t go out anymore.

When I take my clothes off, my hands do less work
than the day before. I read that the five stages
of grief can be felt simultaneously. That suffering

often lacks order. My hands face away from me like
two wolves watching over the dormant
winter. “Stay” I tell them. One light blinks out,

signaling dusk. One light, still blinking, knows
a small truth: to live this way will cost you everything.