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Indentations in the Sheets


“Displeasure is so easily compressed into disease,

Revelry contorted into reverie.”


You tell me all of this when we are both lying

in bed, trying to read but instead thinking

of our own heartbeats. I respond by closing

the book, which at this point has become black

smudge against white paper


I ask what you mean my voice is trapped

in a hospital bed. You don’t answer for a while

but your eyes are frozen on the same page

they have been for the last hour.

The air grows cold and antiseptic.


“I mean,” you say, and I hear the words as if through a morphine haze,

“that the difference between sadness and sickness is gestation period.

And the distinction between a mistake and a memory

is the amount of alcohol one chose to drink.”

Then you turn over, click the light off

and when I wake up you are gone.


It takes me most of the day, but I build the resolve

to open the book you left on your nightstand,

A Brief History of Warfare.

I learn that super glue was invented by accident

and repurposed by the military as a hasty alternative to stitches:

to plug the wounds of soldiers in battle, keep them

alive just long enough to receive medical attention.

The project was a partial success. It kept the soldiers

alive, but it poisoned their blood, too.


Photograph by Lauren Smothers


Chris Costello is a writer, editor, and student in Central New York. His work has appeared in Ink and Voices, Ghost City Review, Utterance Journal, and Stone Canoe, among others. These poems are, broadly speaking, about separation and, more specifically speaking, about the beginning of the end of a dysfunctional relationship.

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