You’d Have to Pay Me Could You Pay Me Enough

You’d have to pay us

Could you pay us enough

To live for a stretch

Again in that house

Rippling through rooms

Papered with boys

Papered with dogs

As a means of escape imagining

Ourselves into every bad painting

Even ones of the purplest hell?

One of us moved

Through the house like a draft

She was tired

She said

She was empty

She was letting her body

Thin out and grow hairy

One day we brought

A picnic to her room

Spread it out like a stain

Waited for days

Checked our faces

In the tiny round mirrors embedded

In the skirt she’d left

We knew she’d abandoned

The house on a whim

(Like a blazer)

(Or a newborn)

We watched the apples soften

We watched the bread turn blue

We noted the second the sparkling

Water went still

Sara Peters, “You’d Have to Pay Me Could You Pay Me Enough” from 1996. Copyright © 2013 by Sara Peters. Reprinted by permission of House of Anansi Press.

Source: 1996 (House of Anansi, 2013)