I’m partnered with whispers.
Disquieting their partner, they whisk her
voice unasked through my dial-bound trips.
Daily they gaily needle me with their tip
to need her voice nonetheless.
Nightly I feed them less and less
detail, but they grow and they mock the endless hem-
hawed denials, I’ve tripped again.
“Check this box. You know,
the four-squared lines around the hollow
of our white space.
Yes, there’s no phrase
next to the unchecked box. It doesn’t matter.
We’re only here to gather
a positive response. We’ll fill in the rest
later, and we’ll attest
we could see through
your glassy hush, as we saw through
the stone trying not to dwell
on those bits of crushed shells.”
The shells. Those damned bits
of shells she left minutes
before she left. Shells already
discarded by some small medley
of slimy unnamed things
somehow both alive and living
out in the dead-calm lake. Those shells lost
or more likely tossed
aside but lightly, as delicate dishes
are gently pushed when finished.
“We’ve heard you tell it.
The green-brown waves rolled to deposit
them on that spit of coarse, cold sand where
your toes slipped from shoes and care
to taste the ridges
of their gently sloped backs and smooth-worn edges.
She took them home then
and using nail polish she painted them
shocking pink faces and round eyes in various hues
of red. Glitter-glued to blue
construction paper they bubbled
her winking verbs, which troubled
you as you re-read
them and deconstructed
her intentions each color-
less visit to the refrigerator door.”
I’ve told it
and much the same, but when I hear it
become less mine than hers.