Her scaffold of fingers guarded his heart
all night long, but she was talisman
of a non-believer. She bargained for time,
and it never let her close her eyes.
He died and she went to live on the couch.
The stone dense with biography slumped
against an indifferent god as she tried
to remember him without sentiment,
according to his laws. When his scent
faded from the sheets, and the disc
of camphor crumbled unlit in the lamp,
his gestures froze in her mind
until they turned tacit, loosing her
into the landscape where she’d last seen him,
spinning between wrong-headed markers
as each star blew its fuse.
The plunging light erased the sky. Planets
unraveled like balls of string, leaving only
a knot of scars on the verge of change,
unreadable as a wayward pulse.
(nominated for the Pushcart)