• Vol. 03
  • Chapter 04
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American Gothic

I clasp my mother's image to my breast,
pin it to the mourning ground of a rickrack yoke.
He holds her in the barn, rakes up memories
brittle as straw, forks them over, pitches them up,
ricks them into a gold dust chapel.

Lord knows, I tried to carve him some relief
but his grief is tempered hard, sharp as tines,
he wears it in the lines of his buttoned-up shirt,
the steely set of his jaw, the torn lapel of his coat.
But I carry the ghost of her in my bearing,

it is I, in the blind-drawn gloom, I against
the tracery, the wedding lace curtain,
the dead-spit behind shuttered slats,
it is I who haunts him, a pale silhouette,
a likeness passed on, a cameo to catch at the throat.