Lydia by Craig Evenson

She has carefully washed her face and dressed for the day.
She is attentive while I check her arithmetic for neatly labeled
solutions, probably telling her to show her work because that’s
what I say to everyone. She has a large python that she
brought to school once. She stands up straight at the corner
of my desk cleared off for her work.  The rest is covered with
stories read and unread, worksheets, notes from parents
chameleoned in unopened mail from school supply companies.
Even this mess would have to grow to dimensions attributable
solely to mental illness before I’d be able to hide safely inside
from the danger of doing.  Or I would have to shrink.  There is a
good chance I was thinking about dreaming beneath the shell
of the dirty spoon when she took my glasses. I paused while
she cleaned them with a tissue and the stillness swelled,
cracking a brittle fastness, until twin pools of polished air fell
like geese on my eyes.

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