r.i.p tides

It's the white of walls closing in,
the burn of ice on warm
skin, the pipe you never liked, the
corncob type, the smoke that bites
like the body
              of Christ,
the whine of time passing you by,
white as night,
the black of your shine.
It's all lies, you cry, all lies,
this mystery,
              this paradigm,
this history
              of death and life.

Expiration Date

Angles of pale walls nip at the edge
of your mattress, the springs’ fatigue
at ease when you left.
The pipe’s lungs expired, a cleft in its side.
Its smoke stains your overcoat,
taints the egg, the bun,
the little one you left to burn in the oven.

You sew a button hole on the jacket
of denial,
madly filling it with more buttons, pins, and zippers,
each differing in size and color
as you work to keep out the cold.
Bury every mournful layer of clothes,
sweat, wrap a scarf around your neck,
wipe your face with a handkerchief,
another duster to cleanse,
and place a hat upon your head.
I’ll stand by wondering when you’ll choke to death
on frantic attempts to forget,
suffocated by the smoldering coals of unshakeable regret.

Nichole Rued is currently a Creative Writing student at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay. She has six previous publications, including an interview with Laurie Notaro. Her works have appeared in Sheepshead Review, UW-Green Bay's journal of the arts, as well as an online journal.

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