V  P  R

Contemporary Poetry and Poetics




She was famous for the way
her husband killed her,
not for the clove-oranges
she hung on trees in December,
or how her red hair crackled
when storms rolled into town.

Maybe she was not dead
but just living somewhere else
with different people, sleeping
on vaguely familiar pillows.
Lost in the woods, she’d stop
and look into a wren’s nest
half expecting a mirror.

The dogs gave up after five
days, so the ribbons came down.
Cody made a popcorn funnel
out of the missing wife sign.
Diggers struck shale and swore
it was a buried thigh bone

but knew better, called it a day.
Perhaps she hopped a rail car
at sunrise, leaving behind blood
that was not hers, a clapboard
ranch that wasn’t hers either.
The countertops were pocked
with crumbs and coffee grounds.

Maybe she was ashamed, pulled
a damp cloth from her apron pocket
as he studied her dim reflection
in the glass panel of the oven door,
long shadows on the ceiling, after
riding so many miles to find her.


© by Mary Biddinger


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