spent most of the 80’s in Boston and most of the rest of the time in Texas. Three years ago she moved to a small town outside Columbia, Missouri where she coordinates a bi-weekly reading series, Hearing Voices
She art directs the graphic design firm arsgraphica
Her work has appeared in the Gettysburg Review
, Southern Review
, Gulf Coast
and Verse Daily
, among others.
—Back to Extra Links—
How much faith we must have in the visible world.
Mostly, we are vacancies.
Atoms and everything made of them
are all but empty space. This heavy
oak table I slide my palms across,
the spoon that rattles this saucer.
Barely there. Plato understood the matter
we recognize, the trees, rocks and couches
we smell and touch, as having been
sculpted and formed from regions of space.
The world we see less illusion
than a certain lush rendering.
One scoop me and one scoop you.
Except your atoms did not hold.
Galaxies whirl and do not break
apart though the source of gravity choreographing
their ancient waltz cannot be found.
Dark matter, we call it, construing what must be
by what is absent. Like the stocking
we don’t hang at Christmas, the number
you don’t answer, birthday
cards that do not come.
Stories you will never tell your nieces. What then
holds us together when we’re told
every atom in the universe strives,
like salmon on their upstream runs, to make its way
back to the vast, placid sea
from which it once was seized
and conscripted into service? A crack in the constant
constellation of isolation littering
the infinite expanse and then:
a flowering of solar systems, craggy cliffs, wooly mammoths,
human hearts. Could you not see that
for a brief and tender moment,
it’s love that holds our feet to earth? The Converse Jams
I found one freezing December
at an outlet outside Boston,
a dozen bus stops from my unfamiliar home,
and toted in triumph on the plane
back to Texas for the first family
Christmas I flew home for. You wore them
from then on—to class, the prom, to every
greasy kitchen job you quit
in too many towns, bent only on playing your music.
You wore them till they flapped,
till they stank, till they were putrid.
I loved your filthy shoes. Your various colored hair.
The brilliant smile the dentist
wrecked but still dazzled
the kids on your schoolbus. Bus driver Steve.
Family photos accumulating on the mantle
age without you.
You are not here but as all matter is conserved
you are somewhere, atoms,
perhaps, at last, at rest
inaccessible to your warm flesh. Was a gun
aimed at the brain a sort of shortcut,
a headstart in blasting
those atoms back into the cosmos
where they lay in the chill
perfection of stasis before love
interrupted, whistling each lone particle
in from exile, disturbing entropy,
conjuring the substance of this world?
And although I’m told the atoms that shape
us are 99.9 percent empty space, I spin still
in the orbit of your missing
mass, which must assure every skeptic
and physicist when that .1 percent
of matter we grow so fond of
forsakes us for its natal field,
dark matter, most certainly, remains.