A Rut, or Cutting You Out

Today the sun does not rise. Today nothing rises but me, to the window and back like a dull knife wearing away the carpet in hope that it will split open to reveal something. With my luck, it would reveal your face, with my footprints in one long line down your cheek like a scar. I am trying not to think about you. I think about the house instead. The only doors are on the inside, but I have not gone through any of them because I have only gone from the window to the bed, and back. I imagine they would lead into a room with a painting that vaguely looks like you, or a bathroom with cold tile, so I stay here, where there is carpet and nothing to remind me that you exist. Except I am in this room and I am trying not to think about you, so I think about the room instead. The walls are white and the window is dark because the sun did not rise. The light is on and the hum of the halogen gets louder with each pass I make. There is a mirror on the wall and I can see myself in it when I cross the room. After a while I stop looking, because I’m afraid I will start to see you instead. I look away and down and see the hardwood starting to show from underneath the carpet and it looks like your hair, or the dirt under your fingernails. I think about the hum of the light, how deafening it is, how it is starting to sound like my fear, and on one of my rounds I forget and look into the mirror and see your deep eyes. I take the mirror off the wall, shatter the window with it. I do not climb out of it, just survey the damages: all that shattered glass, my broken pattern, and a million of you standing outside in the darkness that is slowly seeping in.

This is a reprint of work originally published in Tossing and Turning.

Rachel Nolan holds a BA in poetry from Hampshire College, edits poetry manuscripts for Green Writers Press, and is managing editor for Millennial Pulp. Their past accomplishments include being a finalist in jubilat’s Make a Chapbook Competition in 2017, as well as being a finalist for Heavy Feather Review’s Zachary Doss Friends in Letters Memorial Fellowship in 2020. Rachel’s work is recently or forthcoming in Duende, HOOT, Beyond Words, Tilde, Trouvaille Review, and Second Chance Lit.

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