11.2 (Winter 2007)   The 2River View   AuthorsPoemsPDFPast Issues2River

Traci Brimhall


A year had passed, the surface
of the lake smooth, the wreckage
removed. The ripples stopped
reminding us of her until
lunch one day, when my grandma spoke
her name in passing, as though
she still lived, as if we hadn't moved
the chairs around the table to hide
the empty space where she belonged,
dividing up our share of loss
into many smaller spaces.

We kept our heads down,
chased the green grapes around our plates
with our forks and acted like her name
didn't still make our blood leap,
didn't make our hearts wait
to discover if her voice would fill
that violent pause.
All we could give our cousin
was our silence, let the memory fade
with the soft vowels of her name
and keep eating, pretending
his dead sister had not entered the room
and left again.



I put on your shirt
and rubbed my nose
on your collar
to remember the smell
of your chest on mine.

I fit a finger on each
button, finding them
stiff and unfamiliar
without the usual
press of desire.

You're still fresh here,
my sheets still reeking,
where only last night
we lay like two commas,
curled around each other.

And only this morning
I pulled your tongue
into my mouth
so our bodies could talk,
but there was silence.


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