By Allison Cummings, Professor of English
As always, a convergence of kindred signs
bunching in one sunlit ray
for a week: the white cat
haunting the twilight yard like a small cloud,
blue-eyed, staring level through windows;
the household spirits flummoxed and testy
over the annual parade of tenants,
hiding combs and spoons
so our hands reach air, hover
in doubt, the ground of ritual
shifted, askew. Reports of ghost limbs
like beloved, infected breasts,
flesh too tenderly alive to be parted
from bone, arms forever arcing to accommodate
what is gone;
a lizard's tiny tail in a boy's hand,
the crepe myrtle's midnight shadows whisking
dark outlines of peripheral raccoons
across the kitchen's vinyl tile.
Or dead: paler squares where pictures hung,
chips and patches of buried paint,
chalk S's drawn in cabinets:
skeletal shells of a girl's
All the senses trained on absence.
How one "loses a grip."
The furniture of our small worlds—
lovers, chairs—nag to be grabbed,
sworn to constancy; coherence requires force,
and sanity strolls out of a will to integrate
even what, left to its own interstitial specialty,
flips and springs into ether.