My grandfather fixes a broken light switch, signaling his brain

back to body, and I spend too long in the room where the man

flips the coin to determine whether I stay

or go. I don’t know


if an interactive art exhibit where I enter a series of rooms can simulate

the gray of waiting for neuron to catch synapse—to leverage

muscle, to tendon,

to bone,


but the cat has an innate compulsion to lick the fur

off my Ikea blanket, and I hear it first as oceanic, like the sound

of surf-break in a shell—but she thinks everything is her baby, a soft

thing to groom,


and I can only think of salt-water waves on a beach, and the room

is an elevator that won’t let me off unless I pay a ticket, or a coin,

or convince 6 people to exit

with me.


My mother pictures his brain as lit up in all the places his body

can’t reach, and we share the picture on Facebook, of a wire soldered back

to where it fits, as proof that something

has healed,


but I have to go back to the beginning,

because I’ve paid all my tickets

before I’ve entered all the rooms.



BROOKE SCHIFANO is a poet, currently working on her MFA at UMASS Boston. She lives in a small house with her cat and her person.