This morning, I refuse to leave the pale blue
cocoon of my bed. At some point in the night
my legs turned themselves into swan’s wings.
This magic takes my mind off its obsession:
black cherries, and the knowledge that all
cherry pits contain a small dose of cyanide.
I work in a hospital. In one year, I have held
the withered hands of over one-hundred dying.
The things that happen when a patient fails.
Essential Staff. If I leave this bed, my knees
will buckle. Every morning, I transform:
The Ugly Duckling. Black rubberized feet, splayed.
Cygnets on treadmills. Swimming in circles,
I dream – a dark-haired woman from a factory
throwing cake crumbs onto the surface of a lake.
She brings me chocolate, a basket of cherries,
and my own shot of smoky bourbon whiskey.
For this favor, I will never, ever, tell her secret.
Diesel fumes tendril through the bedroom vents.
I have captured a white swan in a glass bottle.
In exchange for her freedom, she teaches me how to fly.