An oddly small pump that might aerate an aquarium is in the wood vortex of a tenderly swept hallway. A braid of tubes ran from the pump under the undercut, ajar door. The dim is cultivated to help you disappear in it. That room was the sick room. The Dublin Room, the Labyrinth Room, the Emigrant Room, the Rose Room, the Nymph Room, the Blank Room all were complete but distant distractions. You sat in them for days with your hands on your knees I think oblivious to the sun setting or the house itself darkening and empty. Beneath the whir is a rhythmic throb. Furniture heaves across a floor many chambers away, distorts into a groan through the wood and plaster body of the house and shudders disintegrated moth wings in a thin sheet from my wall into a slender drift atop the baseboard. Then your footsteps, or footsteps unassigned at that moment, you might have been out of your head, I knew were headed down that dim way to me by their timbre. That they existed outside the routine was miraculous. That anything existed outside of the routine that made us both physical at the same time was proof of a more vast existence. I nearly didn’t want them to arrive out of fear, just to shuffle about the house circling me with their pads and echoes of their pads. Routine was our language. I never shared that it anguished me other than loving what erred from it. If your head materialized in my ajar door some off hour my smile might have let all the structure crumble. Within the routine its destruction was an illusion, even our desires for difference grew programmed. At such a time I would long to see you but wouldn’t. I would long to see you and you would appear in a deviation that also was rote. We changed separately, but I didn’t know how you became different and you didn’t see that I was slowly absorbing the shade and dim. The folds in the sheet deepened. The comb marks you inscribed in my hair each morning petrified. On the surface I became gray. You might have seen that. But, you convinced yourself it was just the dark room. You kept the room dark. The aquatic glow of the dancing oscilloscopes on the equipment that kept me alive curled green waves over the fabric faults between my knees. They would begin to glimmer as the day slowed at its slowest point near four in the afternoon such that each crystal of wavering light described my guts individually slid over the topography of my bed like scattering mourners. Each flickering spot seemed to have an identity, a pace, a destination. I could taste salt when I hadn’t rolled over and sweat rolled into my mouth. Salt built tailings on the window sill behind the veil of the curtain. You shook a table cloth in the yard and the low clouds billowed outside the window undressing the dim shallow dustings of darkness. It was cosmic waste, alien pollen you said, toxic. This is all from my head, Jack. I couldn’t tell you if it was real or is real. I never was sure if you were there or I was. A few mornings seem tangible in scars on my mouth from hot coffee or a thin headache that remains from singing so loud against your recommendations to be silent, still, soft. I laughed with too busy teeth. My laughs taper while you sweep and you think I laugh at you. I can see that disdainful curl in your deep breath. I drank coffee from a greasy pot I think until you stopped the coffee to soothe me. I tasted ashes. I may never have eaten. I lived on odors from the rest of the house. My sheets grew thick then stiff with the oils that seeped out of me. The sheets creased over my bones and skin creased like folded paper. Then you made me tea that reflected gasoline rainbows and the ceiling and let it run into my mouth. The backs of my japanned hands reflected the sky over carvings of slender bones distant from the skin like a frail body within a body. The moths left the room; their dust drifted into the hall, presumably swept up as you moved through the house with pan and brush, or blown through the attic.