by Jennifer Moxley
I was eating my dinner alone,
sitting on the living-room couch
watching a movie on TV for company
when the forces your covetous presence prevents
slowly crawled out in fibrous droves.
Without you to follow me with your
clipboard, or record the game my face plays,
masquerading as a cryptic territory
and your field of study, the energy maggots
turned the furniture into an ectoplasmic
mass with the weight of iron: soft but
resistant, a taut balloon against the hand.
Hypnotized by the atmosphere I fell asleep,
and the chair took revenge on my psyche.
I could not scream, so I focused my will
on pushing back against the animate matter.
I was near failing when I managed to utter
the word "dove," and then you shook me awake.
"Stop," stop fighting with the furniture, you said.
Yet something I could not see pushed hard
against me, and it was not a force for good.
My vocal chords were paralyzed and the language
of the living was the only way to stop it.