In a college dorm, in a prison, in a marriage
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She wouldn’t suck. She wouldn’t cuddle.
Her eyes rolled toward me, then away again.
I hugged her to my chest and ran
from the doctor’s office to the X-ray lab.
There they jammed her into a plastic tube
with her arms pinned above her head,
still in her white T-shirt, crying.
“That’s good,” the technician said.
“It expands the lungs.”
When they handed her back,
I wouldn’t lay her down again.
I slept that night in a chair,
holding her up so the mucus would drain.
In sudden, sharp focus, I cherished it all:
the sweaty spikes of her damp hair,
the rattling vibrations of every breath.
I hold no moments more precious than these,
the nearly unbearable,
a pain so pure, it was almost like happiness.