Elegy Unearthed

For Charlottesville

 

My city, hardly a city, still

swimming like a newborn—

two winters into this dream

the streets feel pale and distant.

I made my room so clean last night

I thought I might disappear, folding

laundry until the space looked smaller

like something out of a children’s book.

Or like Meg’s window in the corner of the television.

Or like an engine in reverse but heard

through playback. Last night in the dark

something seemed to give, so I scraped the salt-licked brick

for the heat beneath. In the newer version of this dream

everything is still red and distant

and August finds bodies pressed to the street

like too many petals collapsing. Each husk unearthed, unfolded

in my two steady hands. My city, I am trying to write my way

back to you, but out here I remember

only echo or ghost. Or these hands

shaking, all through the night.

Even in the body each story ends

outside of the body, and here in snowy Boston

something is left buried. Easily, like broken glass. Like light

bouncing off the sidewalk.