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In This Bed 

last saturday night, i found myself
in this bed
right in the middle
where she was

i stared at the ceiling
wondering what it felt like for her to die here
considering the view

crying until my head ached
until i blew my nose on my sweater
and got up
and moved forward

i think of the way her teeth hung from her lips that last day
and how her arms swayed in the air above her
like detached wings

i think of the way she smelled

and i think of that night, the night before
the night before she died
when i slept here with her
and she held me close with bony and bruised arms
eyes wide open, watching me across the pillows
mouth moving
but no sound

i love you i love you i love you
she said
you are beautiful you are beautiful
but no sound
maybe a whisper

and i'm five years old
and she's swimming underwater with me
and i'm six years old
and she's braiding my hair
and i'm seven years old
and she's cooking me grits and country ham and black eyed peas
and red eye gravy
and i'm eight

and i'm thirty eight
and i'm getting her a plate of food at the local cafeteria
and i'm pouring her a cup of coffee
all kinds of proud
because i'm with this woman

and i belong to her
and she belongs to me
and together we're gonna go to the department store
and look at the bras and lacy underwear
and then i'll take her home
and park her on the couch for her nap
and i'll drive away.

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Amy Barnes

Amy Barnes

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