My mother used to tell me there was a man
in that face. God of drunkards, she’d say,
a dark Cain, wandering the earth
to pay his penance. Man in the moon—
his shadow-pocked cheek, the shape
a whisper takes in winter as it thins
and disappears. In a few days,
there will be nothing—a black silence
in the sky. Stars huddling
without lantern in the night.
My husband is curled asleep
on the couch. His hair, completely
gone now, only one eyelash clings
to its lid. I watch it flicker as he exhales—
a stubborn dance above the cratered
jaw. What penance does he owe?
This body, a sliver in our dark room.
One I have loved, nightly slipping away from me.
Chelsea Krieg is a writer and educator from southeastern Virginia. Her work may be found in Greensboro Review, Poet Lore, Bellevue Literary Review, The McNeese Review, Medical Literary Messenger, and elsewhere. She currently teaches writing at North Carolina State University where she also received her MFA in poetry.