Shwetha Sreeraj


by Michael Steffen

The woman you wake to with sudden intensity
is certain you’re guilty of something,
but she’s not sure what—
your dream already folded its tent,
though, still, you taste some salty desire.
There are spaces in a marriage
no number of long-stemmed roses can fill,
where trust is a tactic, tenderness a tease, the sex—
a little too much like acting.
She’ll kill you with her veiled face,
her halting, tearful language,
hoarse prosecutions, slamming doors,
sirens in the serial dark, the whole plot becoming
a bit too complicated. In your mind,
you’ve already cut and run,
descending the stairs, two at a time,
to rendezvous with your happiness—
the sweltering night missing half its stars
before you even realize
in a poem with sirens, not everyone escapes.

Michael Steffen

Michael Steffen’s fourth collection of poems, Blood Narrative, was published in 2021 by Main Street Rag Press. New work has recently appeared, or will appear soon, in Book of Matches, The Chaffin Journal and Literary Cocktail Magazine. Michael is an MFA graduate from Vermont College and currently lives in Buffalo, NY.

Artist: Shwetha Sreeraj





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