I pull the muted cream light over the cream
bed and the cream curtain
and the cream book. The day diffuses.
I consider some advice to consider my grey
hair when going on the market.
I pull the cream sky over my sternum. The word
for sky is the same as the word for day. I pull
the cream light over the mint
cabinets. I pull it over the word career in my
teeth. What carries us. It’s not quite canary.
I get my period and an earache
and take up the blue pillows and pull the cream light
over my cuticles. I pull it over the cream tech buildings
and a cream smokestack.
Diffused ambition is a burden and a relief.
I pull it over my cream porcelain cup and the cream cup’s
light yellow tea which is good
for the lungs. I pull it over a nuclear arsenal.
I remember my grandmother pulling up the cream
blind to let in the cooler
cream light. Now the cream light gets more golden,
a little embarrassing, and I pull it over my throat and
my pancreas. It gets richer
still and rosy and I pull it over an ache in my elbow.
I pull it over my follicles. I turn on a cream light
and pick at some scabs
and turn it off. I pull it over a single sense
of direction. I am given a cream plush penguin
and name it Adeline. I pull
the cream light over my toes and then over
my fuzzy mint slippers. I clutch Adeline whose cream
stuffing begins to spill out
and I stitch it back in. I’ve been lying.
The book is more yellow than cream. The page
is cream. The smokestack is more
beige than cream. Adeline is grey. I don’t remember
her hand on the blind. She died several days hence
two years ago. The building
has bands of cream but it cannot really be called cream.
I go into the room with the cream table and the different
cream light. I pull it through
the cream glass made cream by condensation
that never leaves the panes. I pull it over my curved
spine and my heavy forehead.
It would be easy to whittle it down. What’s hard is
keeping things in. I pull it over a notebook from
your student, whose name
written on the cream cover is Antigone May.
I pull it over my gurgling viscera. I pull it over
the houseplants that I care
about too much, which is perhaps why I have
been gifted Adeline. I pull it over my slightly pained
armpits. I pull the cream
light between two high-rises where it is hiding,
the orange sun on the clothes porch. I pull it over the man
lying still in the street
and how you said don’t look, we can’t do anything to help.
I pull it over the draft and my drafty brow.
I pull it over the page
from which I keep walking away because the overflow
makes an echoing space in my chest. The cup is bone.
Now the cream light is on
my temples. I pull it over our open eyes.
Stephanie Anderson is the author of three books of poetry, most recently the If You Love Error So Love Zero (Trembling Pillow Press), as well as several chapbooks. Herpoems and essays have appeared or are forthcoming in Bone Bouquet, Boston Review, Denver Quarterly, DIAGRAM, Guernica, LIT: Literature Interpretation Theory, nonsite.org, Posit, the tiny, and elsewhere. She co-edits the micropress Projective Industries and currently lives in Singapore. // @projectiveind
Banner image by Olivia Cronk