When the house went up     in fire, I spent
all the nights awake     and waiting. 
Cotton sheets     went thin
on my body     holes
in the roof     saran-wrapped
windows.     Then you came,
your body     shaping the bed
the panic     I felt whenever
a plane rose     in the skylight
engine thrum     and contrails
smoke stained     the ceiling in patterns:
salamander,     paint pony, the animals
that run away.     I wrote something
without you in it.     I built a fence
to stop myself     from leaving.
I went to work     on the house. Tossed
ashy shingles     in the trash, put
clean glass     into panes. 
I am finding     my skin taut
in places     the smoothness of new
cells,     the trappings (you
know)     of you.
I must      put them
on me like     a fur, the weight
of it     the texture brushing
over my skin     at my face
how it     holds my chin up how it
turns my face     up, a sturdy rod
runs up     my spine from coccyx
to neck     an adaptation
developed in     extremis,
aided by     you, the person
who gave me     the animal skins
the ones that stay     close to the body.

Katherine Eulensen lives, works, and writes in the Pacific Northwest.