The scene: a bathtub, dry
by Catherine Pierce
In the space left by the ceasing
of the sirens and her baby’s howls,
she hears everything. The cottony sound
of her own breath ratcheting in and out.
The light fixture buzzing quietly.
The wrecked town outside
with its green mournful growl.
She stands, and hears her shins unpeel
from the porcelain: a comic noise
in some other movie. Her son’s
small grunt of protest as she shifts
his sleeping weight. The next county over,
the rising discord of terror, clanking
like a thousand car parts. The small metallic
click of the brass knob as she moves
into the hallway. The hallway, still there,
droning its low dominant pitch
of shadows and neglected houseplants.
The moment before she opens
the front door: her sleeping son’s heart
thudding against her own, its cadence
quick and even—steady enough,
she hopes, to anchor them both
in the new, world-strewn world.