the wall


The Wall
Laura Kasischke

One night from the other side
of a motel wall made of nothing but
sawdust and pink stuff, I
listened as a man cried
to someone on the telephone
that all he wanted
to do before he died
was to come home.
“I want to come home!”
That night a man cried
until I was ankle-deep in sleep,
and then up to my neck, wading
like a swimmer
or like a suicide
through the waves
of him crying
and into the deep
as icebergs cracked into halves,
as jellyfish, like thoughts, were
passed secretly between people.
And the seaweed, like
the sinuous soft green hair
of certain beauty queens,
washed up by the sea.
Except that we
were in Utah, and one of us
was weeping
while the other one
was sleeping, with
nothing but a thin, dry
wall between us.

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