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 QuarterlyDIAGRAM, Guernica, LIT: Literature Interpretation Theory, nonsite.orgPosit, the tiny, and elsewhere. She co-edits the micropress Projective Industries and currently lives in Singapore. // @projectiveind

Banner image by Olivia Cronk