There is no puzzle. There is
The texture of sugar at the bottom
Of a cup. The color
Of cinnamon, a silver fish
Fat in the man-made pond,
And happy in its fatness—
Making its sluggish circles, rising
Occasionally, as though it needs
To breathe, but gulps.
That is all, and that is hard
To think. The water, the cloud,
The mist, the mountain
Are one pale gray distance,
Far, but coming. Also the trees,
Black conifers lagging behind them
With heads bowed, hands in their pockets.
My grandfather died on the all-night bus,
And now I know I may also die
Alone, and publicly. So ends a man.
And his home, with all contents, sold. All
Mahogany, brass statues, books
Smelling of neglect, of cat,
I watched his handwriting slide
At a diagonal, the column of his
Letters narrow and approach the edge
Of the paper. I’ve been receiving
Stamps for my phantom collection.
The dun-breasted, red-throated passenger
Pigeon, commemorated by tasting
The back of a painted square of paper
Or placing in a tea tin.
Abigail Dembo lives in Berkeley, California, where she serves as a poetry editor for Southland Alibi. Her work has been published, or is forthcoming, in Berkeley Daily Planet, The Furious Gazelle, Slipstream Magazine, and Ursa Minor.