Down the Hall

Every night, I cock an ear

towards the scrape
of breath, your sighs
bruising the gentle dark

as you dream
the unknown. 
Your cries burst

hard and clear through static—
the violence
in your voice belies 

these brief months
you’ve been alive
beyond my swollen body. 

I recount the damage, 
the visible scar. 
This love: a madness 

most discreet,
runs to nightmare—

molar-grinding terror,
a vision of your small, still body
quarters my heart.

Time is charged now
with alternating currents of wild, 
blind, bloody fear, 

and perfect, boundless joy.





Frannie McMillan’s poetry has appeared in or is forthcoming from The Coachella Review, Broken Bridge Review, Front Range, and others. She is currently at work on her first chapbook, A Map of Beautiful Things.