as in blue; as in watercolor blue and running down a slip of damp paper;
as in one summer you lay naked across one of the tables in the dining hall
to be painted and Ellen was the best at it with her watercolors
and then she left and now she’s in Rhode Island, which isn’t so bad;
beside yourself, as in the body, the exact same body
just a little lighter and one seat over, dressed in red and wearing striped socks; as in
a scuffed knee; as in you must have come across yourself the way I came across
you and were briefly confused, briefly persuaded to hold yourself out
to yourself in gesture, like you might a glass or a cigarette or a sweater. Some animals
are double-hearted, fish, I think, and some have two stomachs; as in the times
you’ve missed a step and fallen, thinking the step was somewhere when it was
somewhere else. I’ve been beside you too, in the cinema of anesthesia
where the chairs are red and the ceilings gold. You were in the front row.
We were watching you, waiting for a break, a way in, a way to reimagine you.

Genevieve Payne received an MFA in poetry from Syracuse University, where she was the 2019 recipient of the Leonard Brown Prize. Her recent work can be found in Colorado ReviewNashville ReviewThe Cortland Review, RHINO, and The Adroit Journal.