The orange and garnet of evening roll through an open window,
thick and sweet, heavier than the air.

A tall woman forces a pen through the sunset, writes a name,
says it out loud, then places an envelope in a stack to her left.

She moves her voice along the serrated edge of distance,
leaving little cuts in the corners of her mouth,

making each name more painful to speak, each twitch
of the cheek or jaw end in a metallic ache.

She dreads every face that enters her mind, every address
she knows she must write, but the prospect of retiring,

of resting on her half of an empty bed, keeps the pen moving
in a kind of reverse rain dance, appealing with forced fervor

to whatever gods can hold back the night.

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