Tim Neil

As we begin to fall asleep, I name
the child we will never have,
and I watch her play in a home
we will not share.
Her name is Ruby.
She draws cows on the walls,
with purple wax, and we wait
until she sleeps to wash them off.
Lines of soap creep down.
The next day, we tell her
cows are not meant for walls,
that at night, they run deep
into the crayon countryside,
where they graze under paper moons.
She allows a single sigh, the one she learned
from you to release an ache,
and asks how she can visit.
We tell her, "With sleep."
There will only be your dog tomorrow;
he will wake us as he paws
the barren sheets between us.

Tim Neil is an actor and poet from Baltimore, MD. Their work has appeared, or is forthcoming, in Poet Lore, Washington Square Review, Los Angeles Review, Pidgeonholes, and Ligeia.

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