By Margo LaPierre
In the uterus of sleep, benign nightmares grow on me. It is morning. I write them all down. I go to the screen door and check the weather, choose clothing for the day and a grapefruit, which I halve and then eat and read a book of poetry.
The snow has receded in the yard, revealing chives. Green spikes grow from leaf-littered dirt, daylilies I once thought to be tulips, and wish were tulips. Garbage—broken furniture stuck in ice, wet books—claims a corner.
Let’s rewind. Time is no longer an emergency. The clock is deciduous, moulting its hands like spring down. These domestic objects—screen door, grapefruit, zipper at the back of my dress—bang and zest.
Let’s rewind. Time is no longer an emergency. Where was I? Oh yes, bad dreams.
I press my hands into cotton, silk, polyester blends, fake velvet. Extract a dress from the closet, fling it onto the bed, the musk of my trampled sheets still warm. A new robin in the yard. I step into my robe, the one I wear to signal to myself I am awake, though not yet ready to meet the world, and night falls away.
Being has a basic structure in time: a zipper extending all the way back, its metal teeth connecting on an infinite throat. The past a straight line reaching, arms spread wide, to a constellation of futures, closing on one. Behind us, each moment perpetual. Before us, fluid possibility. The past eating the future.
The grapefruit is heavy as a breast, in my hands, at the sink, under the stream. Yes, I am here, weighing the thin chain of my life, and I am washing my breakfast. Sugar or salt? I like sweet things. My past may stud me in my sleep, but now it is far away, and I have a bowl and a spoon, and I am at the screen door, watching the robin.
My phone alarm saves me from the panicked apocalypse complex where I filled a bath with ice for fever. Gale force winds tipped the building, shaking bodies from balconies like peas from a colander. The men who’ve hurt me were all there, crying for help. Rihanna’s low singing, my alarm, pulls me up and out. Into day.
I grab a T-shirt from the closet, slide open my bottom drawer, lift out my favourite pair of jeans: light blue, soft white fuzz over the denim like fur on a kitten’s belly. I set them on the bed. The men ring in my ears, still beseeching, so I put on my robe and go through the screen door to the back porch, barefoot. Sun on my skin. I hum the alarm tune, go back inside.
I scoop into the forbidden fruit, as it was once called, read poetry. Leave behind the bitter albedo. Grains of sugar fall into the bowl. The echoes are loud today. Here I am, eating the child of sweet orange and pomelo and I cannot separate past from present, pith from edible fruit.
I put the jeans on and struggle with the zipper.
For some—those in trauma, or psychosis—time collapses, or maybe it’s us who are flattened. Our pasts and futures chirp at midnight. If you consider the zipper model from the perspective of your own death, what you see is a halved grapefruit pressed against a screen door.
 a model of time squeezed through consciousness
I am naked when I wake. I slide my hands along my hipbones, my belly. I down the glass of water on the nightstand, refill it, take my morning pill, the one that keeps me from getting too sad, from staying in bed. Today the robin will run across the lawn and find a worm.
I go to the closet and choose a long cotton dress and a comfy sweater. I lay them on the bed and walk out naked into the kitchen, halve the grapefruit, make incisions in the flesh for easier consumption. Juice squirts onto my stomach. I wipe it with my hand and suck my palm. Nectar. But not sweet.
Margo LaPierre (www.margolapierreeditor.com) is a queer, bipolar Canadian poet and editor. Her debut collection, Washing Off the Raccoon Eyes, was published by Guernica Editions in 2017. She is newsletter editor of Arc Poetry Magazine, membership chair of the Editors Canada Ottawa-Gatineau branch, member of poetry collective VII, and a poetry selector for Bywords.ca. She is completing an MFA in Creative Writing at the University of British Columbia. Her work has been published (or is forthcoming) in Room Magazine, filling Station, CAROUSEL, PRISM, Train Journal, and others. She lives in Ottawa.