Caroline Kanner

Have it your way, and we'll stand here (pausing each hour to stretch)
until sunrise turns the room silver.

We’re having fun with it, but tiring fast; I hear a vein of steel in your voice.
You want to carve out years to use

to edit the course of a river, debating
each bend, mountain to estuary.
And I want to splash into the current
tonight with a hundred thousand new friends

gathered to move the water with us wherever we need it to move.
You are one of those friends, I hope, I say. It’s hard to tell if you hear me—

the ceiling fan churns the hot air;
our words careen in wide
circles. Sometimes we dodge, sometimes
they nick our skin, revealing a layer that glints like gold.

Inside the argument, in this loud wind, it’s easy to forget the argument is inside a country.
We’re standing in it;
our phones, on the windowsill, shiver with news.

In other words: your words echo empty against the hard walls
of this room when you say
you’d like to stay. I see you

looking out the dark window
behind me. Nothing to see,
just the sound of water moving fast.