Breathing marks vigilance
in your silence on the other side
of the bed, the hills and valleys
of sheets and comforter covering
a distance as lonely as a field
blanketed in undisturbed snow.
Car beams slash the darkness
of our walls; moonlight seeps
through blinds not quite shut.
I spot your neck, the nape,
a bare shoulder, calm breaths,
and I can feel the rush of blood
and can hear my father’s voice
or perhaps my own in my head,
the words falling with the authority
of a calloused hand upon the shoulder
of a young boy armed in somber woods,
with a whisper: Steady, it’s a clean shot.
Ronnie Sirmans is a newspaper journalist in metro Atlanta whose poetry has appeared in The South Carolina Review, Tar River Poetry, The American Journal of Poetry, and elsewhere. He has lived in a trailer and visited many a trailer park, whose residents are usually more interesting than people living in McMansions, and so he’s pleased to be included in a journal named Trailer Park Quarterly.