portion of the artwork for Emily O'Neill's poetry

March Fourth
Emily O’Neill

When you’re gone (always) the day is a snapshot
series.  Postcards:

                          my city’s tallest building is the Westin;
foaming milk is like finding a radio station; summer peeks
            her head out of a manhole cover, retreats;  I recognize
                           beers by how their bottles break.

            I don’t dream you
at the threshold: your open mouth, a lockless city.

Nor the chips of bone in that heavy bag of ash.
            Can you kill a ghost with fire?

                                                  The train conductor calls BACK
BAY and I am awake.  I have no secrets.   I lose every lottery
drawing.   My scalp tingles when I stare into strangers.

The sun isn’t a quitter; sweat stains my seams; I am not
a flowering tree.   I would tell you all of it.

                                                                            But how?

                                        Are you the reason the kettle won’t sound
                            when it boils?  The dead seem present
in winter—windows trace them
in frost.  But this winter,

                                        cold wouldn’t snap.  Will you visit
anyway?  (Pour three fingers of rye.  Sing
             a song we know in passing.)

             This time of year, the clouds get fickle.  I remember
a drought when you took army showers, how you said

             it shouldn’t take more than a gallon of water to get clean.

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FRiGG: A Magazine of Fiction and Poetry | Issue 38 | Fall 2012