In Those Early Days, White Room Girl Dreams of Loneliness

Sometimes I pretend there is no one
in the next bed, that the light
through these windows comes only
for me, that the clicks
and whirs I hear are merely
the wind or some small bird
winding the clock. Then Violet
groans and turns in her white sheet
and they come with their kind tray of new
cloth pillowcases and Violet tells them
how, when the lights are out,
mine shines like blue milk, how it shimmers
with my hairs, which only results
in more meds for her and though
some part of me knows it is wrong,
I keep quiet. I have said nothing
this whole time. At night I lie with my feet
on my pillow so I can imagine it is a wave
and the moon is a ship or a cave or the full
eye of the squid, its inky sail behind it
like a prisoner. Those nights the fog
comes and freezes on the glittering
shingles of the solarium roof and I drink
my cold water slowly, as if this one glass
could, and were enough to, both
enter the body and surround the body,
the flesh less percent water than the space
around it, and therefore buoyant. I had a body
once that I could trust. The kind of trust
that goes beyond the rain, the kind
of trust with fins. But every day,
in this place with more rock
than water, I am scrubbing my brain.

-Maya Jewell Zeller

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