Jerry Williams

Bed, Bath, and Beyond

Days, maybe weeks, before the first
whole night together,
I ventured down Second Avenue
to buy a new pillowcase for the optional
third pillow, your pillow.
In the past, there had been
a maroon pillowcase
and a navy blue pillowcase
and a bottle-green pillowcase.
One refused to accept bribes;
one pretended to drink holy water;
one took a full-time job crying.

According to the packaging,
your pillowcase is oyster, obliterates
the selfishness of regret,
and looks like a fresh sheet of paper
against your brown skin,
your brown skin that seems
so crucial and complementary
against my white skin
in the warm, reflective dark.
Now that my body feels like a pulpit,
and I am my body's messenger,
I will keep this life.