By Mathias Nelson

Darkness is laid out on my brother’s couch,
eyes wide to the ceiling, listening to the house’s guts.
Children are asleep upstairs. Their fists beat the walls in dreamy anger.
I am alone downstairs. The toilet chuffs and gargles,
chuffs and gargles—I turn to it and imagine a ghost
plunging its invisible shit—a real hell that I stop by jittering the handle.
What they call dead noise. Silence brings peace, but that’s a lie.
The red, dirty panties of my brother’s wife are lying on the floor
in the shape of smiling lips. They are excited,
too much so, belonging to a woman during divorce.
They are caked like a white topped tongue, hard with pleasure.
Something has been happening, says the smell of beluga caviar
and the computer full of bearded men.
The walls moan and scratch with what they’ve seen,
paintings of nude women clawing floors,
the wife’s abstract lust. I look and think
and I feel it growing all around me
as the red eyed guinea pig watches, licking its paws
and stroking its fur
before the children wake to school.

Mathias Nelson’s first full-length collection of poetry,
Dip My Pacifier in Whiskey, is available through New York Quarterly