In some countries the bodies vanish.
Not here, little girls are unearthed
from their pink, overstuffed bedrooms
to kiss their plastic dolls, practicing for you.
Each family is marvelous with its mistakes,
an aunt kidnapped by an old lover who
dropped her decorously off at her parents’ house
screaming an hour later. How did she know
blindfolded? Here even snow is strange,
unconscious, filling the emptiness with
its tarnished whiteness, hiding the largest
objects. Covering up and then confessing.
I trust the destitute, after all, they have
nothing to lose. But then there was you
behind a fistful of chocolates and red flowers
who closed their faces to me every night.
How could I have believed in your soiled,
sweaty hands leaving prints on my mirror
and hairbrush, my skin and hers? They resembled
sticky blossoms unable to part from what remained.
I should have known what being late
meant, the shirt with its torn buttons
like missing body parts, the stain
of your hair used by someone else’s hands
as a weapon. Not my doing. I wore
rubber gloves to make you disappear, burned
my favorite rose splattered dress. I watched
while snow heaved itself into your packed
boxes, uncertainly, like someone wandering away
from a firing squad only to end up in front of
a teenager with a shaky gun who is crying
and babbling about crimes of the heart.
—from Rattle #27, Summer 2007