Give and Take – Elizabeth Tesler

I go to bed at the same time
Every night,
But I never get any sleep.
I groan
I groan
When I hear the rustle of sheets,
Because you like to wake
Before the robins even
Flutter an inch from the grimy dew
Of their morning nests—
And I tell you
I tell you
You can leave,
But you don’t.

You make yourself at home
In my cupboards and fridge,
And you cook me some
Oatmeal and eggs;
And if I’m not up
By the time you leave for yoga,
You stick a note on my plate
And wash the dishes
I forgot about
(They reek, but you just laugh
And shake your head).

It’s late, and I muddle through
This stupid thing for you,
For this is how you’d like to hear
That I wouldn’t do the same for you.

I guess we can’t all be saints;
And I guess I could show you
The blood on my teeth,
But I’ll just say that it’s paint.


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