Kathryn Bratt-Pfotenhauer: He’s Electric Like Static Shock

It’s not that he folded my laundry, although 
I could never say no to a man who knew 
the drumbeat of the washer-dryer like the rhythm 
of his pulse. Not that he made me spaghetti or did 
my dishes afterwards, patted my bloated stomach 
as I clenched a pillow between my thighs and hugged 
it until I felt like a person again. Not the splinter he extracted 
from my big toe with nail clippers, gently, not like me, 
who wanted to cut it out from the first. It’s not that 
he rhymes service with the word love, and devotion lives 
in every chamber of his heart. Not that he calls every sock 
I own a lover for having found its match in the cotton miasma 
of my sheets, everything a little damp from the machines 
that don’t work all the way and eat my quarters by the fistful 
besides every two weeks. It’s because he folded my socks 
at all, carefully tucked them inside my drawer, and came to lie 
with me, legs over legs, hand over my breast, small zaps from where 
my skirt twisted around his fingers like a lie told so many times 
it’s become a truth. This is truth: lying here, with the cold peering in
from the windows like a lost child, and us huddled here, his warm breath
in my ear. I’ve never been so afraid of warmth before.

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