Separation Anxiety

by Analicia Sotelo

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Every afternoon, it’s the same

womb of inattention:


the umbilical cord snaps, the lights go out,

and the residue of a failed relationship


lives on all my dishes. 


When I was young, my mother

made a house of thin, papery walls.


Like handmade veins,

lit by tea light.


My dolls walked through the living room


and into the kitchen

where my biological father


dislocated their arms, arranged them

on the countertop for the sake of his plastic art.


You never know what a person is like


beneath their skin, what they’ll do

with what’s available.


When I feel for men, I forget her,

set the death clock going.


I want her to live on


so long, so well—I’d kill them first,


hang them from their sleeves

on planter hooks out the window, shut it tight.


And when it rained, I’d watch their arms

reach out boyishly toward the clouds,


toward the nebulae of You’re So Naïve.


If she dies, I’ll leave her silhouette

to dry on wooden clips in the backyard.


I’ll sit out there in her cotton dress

for the company.