By Regan Schell

When I met you,

the universe apologized,

took my face in its

stardust palms,

pressed a galactic mouth

to my forehead,

said it had a gift for me,

in the same way that

clean bedsheets and

folded towels are gifts.

A prize that split

my hardened lips,

coaxed out a smile.

The universe smiled too,

poured out the stilled water

collected in me,

tapped the cracked ceramic,

filled it up anew.

I dripped the river down my arms

like pomegranate juice.

She laughs and departs,

leaving me to unwrap you,

to choose how to do it.

I pull back paper,

fold it gingerly,

peek inside you,

drink you like that water,

savor my present,

one so perfectly picked

and neatly presented,

thanking the giver

with each gasping breath.