Cinders

I tapped a keg of tears and flooded the town.
He said, No woman no cry. It made me cry harder.
I held his empty shirt to my face at night

and breathed in tobacco, sweat and woodsmoke
till I fell into heartsick sleep in my unheated attic
and woke to piles of dead flies on the window sill.

Once upon a few weeks earlier, we met at the dance
and spied seven deer in a field of snow,
which he proclaimed magical.

He grew strange after that, but cats crossed the street
to greet me. Thrift-store dresses fit. My shoes felt seamless.
I stayed out way past midnight, propelled by music—

until the spring thaw. Let’s skip to the part
where grief gives way to a recurring dream
of finding a whole other house behind my mirror.

I swept away the flies, went downstairs
and sat happily evermore by the fire with my girlfriends,
cracking jokes dirty as creosote burning in a stove pipe.

Off the Coast, Summer 2015

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