the universe next door

after sex we eat
weed chocolate. now I want
cheese melted on corn tortilla
so I get up fast


he’s beside me
relief blooming
when my eyes open

the four or ten seconds that got me
a black square    an off tv

I test my neck, see
the round dent in the drywall
thank god the builders were so cheap
imagine if you’d hit the concrete

I imagine easily the universe next door, the one
where I never wake up

we sit on the couch
his wet eyes wide on me

once at sunset in Santa Monica I lay
on a friend’s living room floor.
she shook a rattle, calling
my soul back into my body.
she’d become a shaman by dying.
It was quick. But I knew
I was changed.
did you know?

Suddenly you see the world
its soft mouths, its red edges
because you have been

where it isn’t.


Sera Gamble’s writing has appeared in The Washington Square Review, Tinderbox, Nine Mile, Sky Island Journal, thimble, The Wall Street Journal, Nerve, and in various anthologies. She also writes film and television. Sera is a first-generation American living in Los Angeles with her husband and dog. She’s spent a lot of time lately wondering if we’re living in a simulation.