Etiology

by Edward Sambrano III

I wrote to the lover
Who was convinced
Of her wordlessness:
Sweep me up in a dustpan.
Pinned the letter to the wall with a thumbtack.

My body unfamiliar,
Twitching like a roach
Escaping the shadow
Of a shoe. Later found hiding
Huddled in the corner

Of a closet. Why speak so candidly
Of chronic sleeplessness
(both risk factor
And symptom, I’m told)?
Is it psychopathology,

Its language of prodding,
Its neurotic gathering
In neat, convenient piles,
That makes me so unhealthy?
After the letter and staring

Out the window for hours, how
Is a lone fawn who wanders through
Falling snow, to me,
A sign from the universe?
The lover would later say:

Gather your own life.
You are a child.
I am unimpressed
With the fondling
Of my body’s perimeter—

Swift up the fat
Of the thighs, a touch
Of the buttocks, the hips
Then the flank, a brush
Through raised hair

Of the arms; socks, shoes,
Watch, wallet, keys,
The bottle of pills
Robbed from me;
The lover’s quick check-ins;

Absence of etiology.

Edward Sambrano III is from San Antonio, Texas, and currently lives and works in the Washington, D.C., area. A poetry reader for Flypaper Lit, his recent poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Salamander Magazine, DIAGRAM, and Murmur, among other publications. Follow him on Twitter: @SambranoPoet

Artwork by: Pablo Martinez