By Katie Cappello

A room in Arizona with a window open

always smells the same—dust wishing to be wet.

You smell not like a room but a stuffed animal

(the one I carried everywhere, a missing ear,

patches stiff with spit, they‘d scratch my cheek).

Your smell, then—child spit on fur.


A telephone rings in the apartment next door.

My arm’s grown stiff and throbbing under my body

but you’re curled against me, so I stay still.

There’s always someone yelling through the wall,

always a cat trying to jump in from the roof,

claws through particle board, always the covers


slipping off. My spit on the back of your neck

at the spot where it curves to your shoulder

smells like an apartment in Arizona.

I leave to brush my teeth with good water.

Returning, I find you naked, only half covered—

sheets skating down your skin.


Katie Cappello lives and works in a small town in Northern California. Her poems are forthcoming from Crab Orchard Review, Los Angeles Review, Memoir(and), and Slipstream. She is the author of the poetry collection Perpetual Care as well as a chapbook entitled A Classic Game of Murder forthcoming from Dancing Girl Press.

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