She wakes in the morning to look
out the window at the spaces in the air
where there should be birds.
From the bed I watch as she stretches,
her shoulders changing colors
in the light. "This is the last time," I try to
promise. "It's okay," she tells me,
rubbing her eyes. The last time
we visited Chicago the saxophone
player on Michigan Ave. told her
that she was an ocean. You're an
ocean, babe. The next morning
we shuffled into the brightly lit
hotel lobby, the only couple in our
pajamas, everyone eating pancakes
in the graying dawn. Now it is the last
time ever. She turns to the window
again, raises one arm above her head
to check her underarm for stubble.
In a few hours she will kiss me good-
bye before letting my hands drop and
climb into her car, leave for work,
release me back into the world again.