in the afternoon of my stale breath, I clicked
mindlessly through meeting invitations, my absent accept
altogether ignorant
of the muscle in my back
pulled this morning holding up the belly

the strategy is bold - they imagine - it must be something good
and yet
in the evening I loaf spread legged
across the sofa
the lizard droppings still piled under my wicker chair,
the fridge purring with the last remnants of my unpaid electric

we review metrics and she even asks me,
'don't you feel good, today?' 'isn't this what you were aiming for?'
but I haven't wiped the dust from my dashboard
and when my shoes enter the house they track
caked auburn mud from the field,
a compendium of Madagascar history in French sits on the shelf,
an unread Foreign Affairs, all the things I need to know about economic tit for tat in China

when I write on the board in faint blue, then new blue markers
when I strut wide legged
when I cross and hmm
and when I see you and tell you, 'I think you're right, I understand'
and you say

'this one is getting me'
I know

I haven't hung the pictures on the wall,
the mango peels sit waiting, weeks old in the rubbish bin,
the sheets itch
no one ever submitted the medical reimbursements
I haven't set the clock since November
and the tub fills with water after every shower, unable to drain
my full bag of floss picks