All night you pace between our bed and another
room in the house, fetching glasses of water
when you mean shots of gin. The candle
doesn’t catch your naked body—a leg, the cut
of stubble—only the shadow of its leaving,
the whole of you uncontainable like the moon,
its kissable face and its darker chambers.
Mary offers her mangled son, a matchmaker,
from the dollar-store votive by the bed.
(Other nights John the Baptist rolls his eyes at me.)
You’re the one who stayed, or
at least never left. You stay because of hard rain,
or dead magnolia on the drive; or is it custom
for the wounded to care for the wounded?
Where are you? I need a solitary room
with you in it. Wall me in. Lie down on me.
"Devotions" originally appeared in Tidal Basin Review.
Derrick Austin is an MFA candidate at the University of Michigan. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Unsplendid, Tampa Review Online, Knockout, Crab Orchard Review, and other journals.