Aubade with Proscenium Arch and Foreshadowing

by James Merenda

The apartment’s kitchen has high ceilings,
easily fitting three wedged sides of a lofted floor

to become my bedroom space when I lose
my job in New York and move into

my long-distance partner’s home
in Oakland, the fourth wall

played by an opaque sheet draped
on a sliding ringed track.

For the year I’ll live there, my partner’s
other partner will say good morning

and reach under the drawn sheet
between the bottom edge

of the curtain and the loft floor
and if I’m awake I’ll squeeze his hand

and draw the curtain aside and if at least
one of us is holding, he’ll lean back

against the attached ladder and we’ll spark
and circle a joint between us until depleted

and after our mutual partner leaves each of us
in the same way and I leave town

and he survives his attempt to hang himself
from the loft space while broadcasting

to me on video call shortly before
he stops talking to me entirely,

it is not lost on me that it’s the same
spot where we’d started

several hundred mornings
holding hands.

James Merenda (they/them) is a queer and nonbinary poet, playwright, and community organizer residing in Boston, Massachusetts. James is nominated for a 2020 Pushcart Prize, and their work has appeared or is forthcoming in THRUSH Poetry Journal, Passages North, and The Shallow Ends. James’s first collection Washed Clean of Summer’s Dust was a finalist for YesYes Books’s 2019 Pamet River Prize.