Twilight, feeling


for myself, scrubbing

runny magenta shampoo

into a hot scalp

with broken nails.

I didn't

turn the lights on,

which was fine

five minutes ago,

but now the light outside

the bathroom window

has gone


and the light inside the room

is creeping-dim, draining to gray. 

The rectangle, 



the neighbor's roof,

antenna, chimney. I am still


smearing prescription paste

down my shoulder blades,

turned away from the shower head,

hair out of the water,

letting the bitter pink cap of foam

sink in, recognizing

the rock-bottom wretchedness

of trying to rub anything

into your own back, feeling


light outside

blue now,

and in here my fingernails

are fading. 

The neighbor's roof,

antenna, chimney now seats

two doves, one

the same mourning male I followed

from window screen to window screen

this afternoon,

listening to that low, soft call,

letting it sink in—

you-uu. uu. you. 

These same birds stop me, sigh me

when I am frantic—


and here they are, resting forehead-high

in the rectangle 

indigo now,

but they are together,

no need to call


and even if they did,

who could hear it

over this water,


In here, my forehead is hot

against the white tile wall.

Out there they are paired off,


The room has now gone so dim

my feet have disappeared,

and I am here,

rinsing, sorry,


water take this drugged lotion,

these flaming cells, water wash me

out, refit me in a skin that keeps me safe

or—sorry—that will lie calmly

under someone else's


KATE HOROWITZ is a poet, essayist, and science writer in Washington, D.C. Her poems have been published widely, most recently in The Murmur House, Qu, and Bourgeon magazines, and in the book Unrequited: An Anthology of Love Poems about Inanimate Objects. She blogs at and tweets @delight_monger.