Afternoon Delight

She’s screaming now and who can say if it’s sex
or pain, love or something else? Their bed
moves above mine, moves mine, moves
out from the wall and circles
the hard-wood: a carnival
ride, spider or sizzler, something spinning,
something multiple, which also sounds
like cats tear-assing from dresser
to bed to sill to kitchen to couch to
bed to floor to bed. I don’t mind this
at night. I move with her, even,
sometimes. But in the afternoon
I wonder—should I climb
the stairs? Should I listen
at the door? Should I knock? Call
the cops? In this light I just can’t
tell if it’s sex or pain, love or something
else incomprehensible to me, living down-
stairs as I do, with the most mannered
of dogs: my crotch unsniffed, my own
afternoons so orderly, my bed pushed
back against the window and made.

Sheila Squillante is the associate director of the MFA program at Penn State, and her poems and essays have appeared in such print and online venues as Prairie Schooner, Quarterly West, Phoebe, The Southeast Review, Melusine, TYPO, 42Opus, Brevity and PANK Magazine. She has been the recipient of fellowships from the MacDowell Colony and from the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, and received a Pushcart nomination for her work in 2009.

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