is the day she needs me to help her move
into her seventh apartment of the decade.
What a male partner did or didn’t do to her

at the firm has sent her over the cliff
she’s always driven close to the edge
of, thick wind in her blonde piled tangles,

skinned knees from bumping into things,
paranoia. I’ve grown accustomed to your mace
is what I say when her purse spills open

and deltas everything onto the stained
rug. We make three sweaty trips, stuffing
my car to its gills, poking through the sun

roof. Her glassy eyes and quivering bottom
lip suggest restrained fear but her closets
cry hysterical: hand-me-downs of sister

and neverworn pouffy dresses of mom, old
crinkled plastic bags of golf balls and tees
(two lessons four years ago), thirty-three

pairs of shoes (two of the steep red fuck-me
variety), brown garbage bags full of old
blouses, modems, small unmarked samples

from famous bodies (the Colorado, the Coruh,
the Urumbamba, the Alsek, the Antarctic Sea)
in antique bottles with chipped stoppers,

ultra-slim feminine hygiene products, dog-eared
gifts I gave her. She shows me a huge potato
shaped like a heart she’s been secretly saving

in the fridge. Her collected Shakespeare,
turned to a favorite sonnet regarding love
and its surprising consequence, splays

facedown on the bed. Rabbit ears spring
from the unwatched TV. Sitting on the crusty
kitchen stove, a wicker basket of legal briefs

and arcane judicial rulings on environmental
issues—which, when extrapolated geometrically
will save the planet, she hopes. Her upside down

bicycle rides the bathtub, honeysuckle body
oil coating the handlebars. I walk the bike
to her new apartment while she showers, packs

and angers herself anew over her firm’s posture
re: the harassment charge. When I drive her
to the hospital, we hold hands in the useless way

we used to. Upon first look, we’re not pleased
by the place: no porch, ponds or grounds. No
swans. The attendants loom invisible behind

large bushes and blank brown brick walls.
A single woman stands in the parking lot
smoking, windmilling her arms to the command

of the private fitness expert in her head.
We swerve away for a last ice cream—soft serve,
chocolate dipped. The frozen chocolate cracks

off her cone when she licks it. One tongue
lunge and she’s saved a bit but spoiled her face.
Heat, tears, ice cream, trembling: her makeup

gets a mad clown look, like the self-portrait
she painted in first grade and left in my trunk
after moving today. As we drive slowly back

to the hospital, I clean her mouth’s corners
with an index finger of my spit. We park
and sit in the blasting sun, criticizing

the lack of swans. I walk her baggage in
and hug her goodbye just as the clipboards
come marching down the hall to get her.