I once read an old Russian story about a man who walked for 4,300 miles
through a snowstorm just to get home to his wife,
who was up waiting for him with the dogs and a hot supper.
As soon as he got through the door, he tore off his coat and gloves
and kissed her so hard her back cracked.
Sometimes I’m alone with my own pain, and it crawls around the floorboards
like a ghost
until I threaten to bottle it up and throw it in the cellar.
There’s nothing down there but roots and dried fruit, anyway.
It was your idea to assign us a novel about ourselves, 50,000 words
and no commas.
Life is just a run-on sentence. We’re all fucked, we’re all drifting lazily
through the current.
Occasionally I’m filled with a longing for you stronger
than air, than life itself.
What if I stopped breathing?
I wouldn’t be dead. No.
I just wouldn’t love you anymore. —“Russian Novella,” Writings for Winter