Carefully, I’d say, like a skull nibbling
the floating edge of a body. I know your words
are still out there, winter clouds, one thin shiver
less than a dream. I heard a story where a sad
gentleman’s dog died, so he slipped
it into the lake, and the new moon slithered
across the bay and in through the man’s
bedroom window. Feathers floated down
out of the wind in the trees. And when I
picked up the phone to say hello to you
the dog drifted out to deeper water. Now
the train is on schedule, not merely an echo
of a train anymore. News came that
some of the caskets in the cemetery were
pried open last night. If it rains this weekend
I will still drive to your city, kneel before
the piles of dirt, and pray for your safe passage
while it lightnings. Radioactive as your
mouth is round in my dream, I will lie with
you, the skulls still resting on their little pillows.
Let the beaches in Ashtabula County burn.
David Dodd Lee is the author of ten books of poetry, including Animalities (Four Way Books, 2014), as well as a forthcoming book of collages, erasure poems, and original poems, entitled Unlucky Animals. He writes and makes visual art and kayaks in Northern Indiana, where he lives on the St. Joseph River. He is Associate Professor of English at Indiana University South Bend.
Image: “Where you left me.” by Victoria Johnston