Kristina leaves her front door open.

I spend so much time here, she forgets


to apologize for the clutter on the table,

or for her daydrinking. Not that I mind.


Days like this, she’s so far gone

she barely remembers anything.

Winters, she forgets she lives here.


It’s easy to forget in the dark

when you don’t see the bay rising.


On everything she owns, a watermark:

a stain on the outside of the house. A ring

on the bookshelf where, carelessly, she’d placed


a mug of hot whiskey. Even her shin, where she’d rinsed

a cut from the blade of the car door.


You’d drink too, she told me,

if everything of yours had washed away.

Baby or no baby.


I thought she’d be happy for me,

but my happiness now seems

a luxury—I’m old enough, too,


to mother an eight-year-old child alone,

a girl already fleeing the house at every chance,

already turning to others for comfort.


I’m old enough to know

what it’s like when bay winds

shake the house, when the ocean


swallows the streets’ jagged edges,

but she smiles. No. You can’t know. Not yet.


I’ve found her, again,

thinking about drowning in the bay.


Her history of objects already

swallowed in it: coins, stones.


An Earthenware planter where, deadheading,

she’d cut her finger.

Glass bottles, measuring spoons.


You can’t know what it’s like,

she says. She’s right. The world that is dying


outside the snow-bright window

is not my world.


Not my Earthenware planter,

not my watermarked house.