A Shudder, To Think

by Michael Pagan

Her cupped palm over
my mouth, then over hers,
again, as if swallowing
my spirit whole.

She asked if I believed in ghosts.
I responded: “Some,” my voice
a raspy set of scissors: “What are you?”

“What are you good at?”

I am—despite being on the side
of angels—not one of them.

I dress like a grocery store manager,
like an abandoned refrigerator
and we will carry on this feud
forever, she in her evening

dress, “Just look at it,” she says.
The floatable dusk marking the half hour,
and here was one empty room, there, the other—
that was the extent of our transgressions.

It was the history of light.

But, there are tides in the body. And once
you stumble, love transforms
into movable furniture or plastered over
grimaces, gazing out of a passing train’s
window, at the loose atmosphere

behind the pane of glass.

And she had felt glad
she’d done it: swallowed, down,
then thrown the last inches
away, then wiped her fingers, her
thick fingers, then finally said:

“I don’t pity myself.”

Born and raised in Miami, FL, Michael J Pagán spent four years (1999-2003) in the United States Navy before (hastily) running back to college during the spring of 2004. He currently resides in Deerfield Beach, FL with his wife and daughter where he continues to work on his poetry, short fiction, and his first stage play. He is a contributor to his alma mater’s blog, The MFA at FAU, as well as his own, The Elevator Room Company.