When my neighbors fight By Monica Fuglei

When my neighbors fight

I hear the muffled sounds of their struggle
through my floorboards. 
This house, built in 1910, was never meant 
to keep arguments in tight compartments, 

so anger leaps out, crawls up the stairs
and pools in the empty corners
of my bedroom and living room, waits to pounce
upon me and suddenly, I am three years old again

banished to my room while my parents split appliances, 
dishes, and bedroom furniture, listening to muffled 
wrath fracture everything into parts, pieces, halves, and waiting
to know what parts of me would be doled out to whom, 

where my feet, heart, and hands would rest each night, 
where my stomach, eyes, and mind would want, 
and wondering how soon things rent became whole again, 
what mending tools were required. 

Or I am at once sixteen or eighteen or twenty
surrounded by my own rightness, 
swirled in screaming and pain, 
halving, splitting, rending, making unwhole

again and again with vengeance and solemn duty, 
while my parents struggled around me with string, 
tape, and glue, to right what they had created,
take what lay around them and make whole, new. 

Monica Fuglei, a Nebraska-born Coloradan in awe of the mountains, teaches composition and creative writing at Arapahoe Community College in Littleton, Colorado. Author of two chapbooks, Parts and Gathering, her work has been recently published in Mason Street, Caustic Frolic, and Progenitor Magazine.

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