You left your whiskey on my bedside
table, your curlers beneath the window,
you left my heart feeling like glass.
(At least it felt like something.) The hickory
chessboard had all its pieces moved sometime—
what is this smell outside my window? Your car exhaust?

I could smell it on your fingernails, the exhaust.
Do you work often, leaving things on strangers’ bedside
tables? I think I want you for myself. Next time
don’t arrange a car, spend all morning by the window
waiting for it. Your lips were rough as hickory—
your nails fresh and sharp as glass.

Sometimes I pick up shards of glass
and cut myself, bleed long, trying to exhaust
this jagged emotion from my body, but the hickory
was put in last month. I tear my sheets from the bedside,
I think I see you outside my window.
But that wasn’t anything. Never. Every time.

Do you remember me? Do you remember the time
I spent folded in you, staring at trees through the glass,
the balsam, the birch, all through the window
through which that taunting car exhaust
pooled in my lungs like oil. At my bedside
I puked; does the floorboard also hold you in hickory?

The next morning I scrubbed the hickory
floors with orange juice. Maybe this time
you’ll leave yourself at my bedside
and I will pour you a hearty glass
of bleach. I’ll keep you in my car exhaust,
always steaming up other house windows.

I used the curlers you left under the window
to burn your name into the hickory:
Winona, Winona, Winona. I’ll exhaust
these memories until they sweeten, a lifetime
lost in the whiskey looking glass
that once reflected your body at my bedside.

Until I can’t see you in my window, I’ll spend my time
Laying on the hickory floor, on the broken glass,
Exhausting your name till it sinks into my bedside.


C. Michael Senko is a sophomore majoring in Linguistics and Communication Studies with a minor in Humanities. He hails from Boston, Massachusetts and has many food allergies. On campus, he is involved in Extreme Measures a Cappella, Sigma Chi fraternity, and research in sociolinguistics.