One Thing Leads to Another by Madeleine Wattenberg

How careful we must be not to disturb
the membrane between one moment
and the next. The web glitters like spit
under the spider’s leg, the connective tissue
jingles, and the future binds itself several
times over. Ear to the floor, knees tucked
to my chest, I listen to the years moving
through the kitchen. The water boils
and a drop of oil hisses at the closest thing
like the mouth of a little brown snake.
Around a heart, my ribcage shakes out
the new squeezed blood. If you haven’t yet
guessed, I was a child trying to put language
into the crease of my palm. The floor was
a piece of paper against which the shadows
performed. I hadn’t learned to walk down
the foyer stairs or seek comfort in the heat
at the back of someone else’s neck. I heard,
in the years below, the murmur of waiting
bodies, all my bodies, so I lay still and practiced
the repetitions of idea that bring on sleep,
while my bodies prepared themselves for me,
added salt to the water, grease to the pan,
rested their bright hands on the doorframes.
Madeleine Wattenberg’s work has recently appeared or is forthcoming in journals such as Fairy Tail Review, Tinderbox Poetry Journal, Mid-American Review, Guernica and Best New Poets. She regularly writes for the review site The Bind and is a PhD student in poetry at the University of Cincinnati.