by Samantha Killmeyer

When Rich was late
he would come through the kitchen door, still
wearing his tie, matched to the color of his socks,
and lie down in the last empty space. One night
he pulled a package from his worn briefcase,
exhumed a bulbous piece of glass from
bubble wrap. It was a small creature
in his hands, curving in on itself,
glass swan tucking neck beneath wing.
I didn’t understand his excitement
but he showed me how the inside
becomes the outside, how everything
in an equation can be balanced, how perhaps
there are no boundaries in a symmetry
between seedlings, our eyelashes
and the stars—

here, thousands of miles away
from that carpet another such bottle
unfolds like a glass tulip bent over itself,
petals tucked into root bulb, blooming out
of green felt beneath clear museum light. Somehow
the bottle was more wondrous in
Rich’s cheap apartment, spilled
red wine and mathematics. If I tilt
my head, squint into glass, tangent
to the bottle I see you, Rich,
some late afternoon, hair the color
of farmhouse clay escaping from
mesh ball cap, faint salt sheen across
cheekbones and sturdy forearms. I watch
you bale atop a blue tractor, metal whirr
behind gold brushstrokes of wheat
and walking out of the museum,
I feel like a stranger to the person I was
on that old carpet turning over glass,

and it scares me. So when there are
no other books left to be read, I finally go
into the garden and start weeding, plucking
Queen Anne’s Lace fractals, tossing ragweed
into piles of polygonal knots. Rich,
you are inside this Klein bottle, pitching
hay on your father’s Pennsylvania farm,
working geometric proofs as you lift and toss.
I look and it is musky fall, wild mushrooms,
earth-wet smell of loam.

Sam Killmeyer is an MFA candidate in poetry at Colorado State University. Her chapbook was a finalist in the Autumn House chapbook contest and her poems are published or forthcoming in Pith Magazine, The Chicago Quarterly Review, JMWW, and elsewhere. She saw the Rocky Mountains for the first time when she moved to CO and now can’t stop scrambling around on wilderness trails.

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