Alexa Bryn


Nine weeks in the yellow house in Arles
left Van Gogh and Gauguin
with three and a half ears between the two of them,
almost a decade in our cramped apartment
and all I am sure of is
that our bodies are still intact.

When you left,
I found mice and ants,
molding bread and rotting cheese
irises, dying or dead
and windows, long sealed shut,
terrified of sunlight

I discovered neighbors,
memorized the sounds of their radios
the rambunctious footsteps of their children
the impatient jangle of their keys

And wondered if they
had heard us, smelled us
living this way all these years,
whether we had
forced children to cover their ears,
and ask questions their parents
could only answer in lies.