It was like that moment, when you turned to smile
and I saw your mouth make out the words
that said that this was a fine night, the kind of night
we both needed, except you didnít say that.
You didnít get that far before the impact.

It is like that. Except for when it isnít.

It is like that only on repeat, so that these moments
are always being miscarried and laid in a basket at the
edge of the woods. Little tiny half babies, so horribly incomplete.
They are missing mouths. Or eyes. Or bodies.

I say at night that I have run out of stories to tell
and then it occurs to me, that you are sleeping.
It is like that.
The way we are missing each other.

Except it is also not like that,
except for when it is,
all the time.

There is cold but there is no snow.
And already the days are getting longer
like this year canít wait to get itself over with.
It is like that.

But also not like that.

She woke up in the hospital and must have wondered
where all that time went, eaten like bread,
passed from one relative to another
who gathered at her bed. But she is not thankful.
They tell her about God. But she is not thankful.

It is like that. Except it is also not like that,
except for when it is,
all the time.

During the Hurricane

During the hurricane, there were tornadoes
and just before, an earthquake.
Nothing major just a tremor,
a shudder in the sleep of a planet
suddenly chilled in deep space.

We wonder what next?
Has it been so long since the last
swath of disease, bounced lighter than air
down our throat, warping our blood,
changing our lives, permanently?

In the end, we flip the light to make sure.
We turn the handle on the faucet,
we flush the toilet.
We want to make sure that the life we lived
when we went to sleep
is still the life we wake to when night has passed,
when the hurricane has passed, tiptoeing through
lower Brooklyn,

leaving only a few downed trees,
like giants felled,
across the lawns of the very rich
and the very prosperous.

I tell you it could have been worse
and you nod and shrug,
kicking at fat twigs shaken loose
during the night of the hurricane, a night

when I slept, fitfully
my head on your chest,
dreaming of water,
too much black water,
and an octopus that wouldnít let go.

This is how we pass the days, now,
stepping from one disaster to another, narrowly missing
true tragedy but I wonder how much longer can we go on?
How much longer, my friends, can we last?

Ally Malinenko writes stories and poems and even a novel and occasionally gets them published. Her second book of poetry entitled Crashing to Earth is forthcoming form Tainted Coffee Press. She can be found at allymalinenko.com blathering on.

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