From the Archives

Living It Up

Max Ritvo

The bed is on fire, and are you laughing?

You leave the bed
and leave me without thought.

The springs want to embrace each other,
but they're afraid if they break

their spiral, they will never
be able to hold anyone.

I wish you would let me know
how difficult it is to love me.

Then I would know you love me
beneath all that difficulty.

You are tending not only to me, you tell me,
but to your other child—the air, 

and air puts his feet in my slippers,
and air scrubs his teeth on my brush,

and we must learn to share a bed,
we must learn to share a body.

The money is running out.
We will have to split one needle

this winter—one end for me,
one end for air.

Max Ritvo was an American poet. His first collection, Four Reincarnations, was published posthumously in 2016. A second collection, The Final Voicemails, edited by Louise Glück, was published in 2018.
Originally published:
April 1, 2016



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