I cobble together some shape like stars,
gas cloud of spangles, sensory noise
a beautiful typeface of serifed
angels and italicized galaxies. That year
declines to cohere. I’m out of practice
even at reaching for the right shelf
to take down fragments rattling
in their sealer jar. Bright ring
and clamouring disk with its ovoid dance
on tabletop or dark drift of space.
Dust of that year toxic to breathe, I need
particulate mask to filter it from my mouth
and nose. That year, melded by star-shine,
stuck to those before and aft, adhesion
of moist exhales. Trial and tributary, ribbon
of spilled milk, and I gather it in handfuls,
sop it up, recap the edgewise static,
staccato tumbling voices, and eerie dance
of half-memory. Monitor dial inching along
through situations half-heard, a moving line,
a pointing finger. Evidence in star systems
we pretend are fixed—his belt, her chair.
Try to slake my thirst with what, I believe,
is a firm grip on the ladle’s hilt.
Frances Boyle’s second poetry book is This White Nest (Quattro Books). Also the author of Tower, a novella, and Seeking Shade, a forthcoming story collection, she has published her writing in Canada, the U.S. and the U.K. Frances lives in Ottawa and helps edit Arc Poetry Magazine.