Countless by Kathryn Paulsen

Isn’t it strange the way you’re always saying
something I’d thought just the other hour or day
or the other way around? Or maybe,
each was thinking the same phrase at the same second,
just a question of who trots it out first:
makes the other laugh or sigh, inside or out.
That day you admired an ear lobe in the sun,
same day, indoors, I was writing of the light on yours,
rendering it transparent, trapping the fly of my eye
in your red web.

Repetition, you said one night at dinner,
is what interests me about love affairs
that go on longer than two months. By then,
you’ve told all the stories, you begin
to hear them again.
An hour before,
alone, I’d mused: Look at the repetition.
Hear what he tells you again and again,
what you don’t want to—let it sink in.

Dreams—if you remembered more,
I’d be dreaming yours, or you mine. Alike
(we quibble, not quarrel). Different:
I won’t count the ways.
You don’t need me to say
something else nibbles at you than
nibbles at me.

Kathryn Paulsen writes poetry, prose, plays, and screenplays. Her work has appeared in publications from Canada to Ireland to Australia, including The New York Times, The Stinging Fly, Humber Literary Review, Scum, Spillway, Craft, Isthmus, Big Fiction, and the London Reader, and she’s received residence grants at Yaddo, MacDowell, and other retreats. She lives in New York City but, having grown up in a military family, has roots in many places. The summer after her freshman year in college, she worked as an assistant to the librarian of the Altus (Oklahoma) Air Force Base Library, where she first made the acquaintance of James Bond, thanks to a recommendation by one of the patrons.

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