Can You Imagine


“Can you imagine?” she asks,

which my ear receives like the SKRITCH

of a match head and WHOOSH, my brain

is alight like dry wood in a pool of kerosene,

erupting into phantoms not my own but another’s,

crackling with inventions of sights not seen and

sounds not heard, like fabric caught on a fence that

shreds in the wind to become a siren’s hair wafting

below the surface of the sea whose rolling foam

is salted by tears spilled from cheek to river to

the wide gulf between joy unknown, grief unparsed;

an apron cinched tight round a thickening middle,

an ember clinging to the smoked down butt fished

from the grass and passed pudgy hand to pursed lips,

dishes clattering from table to floor, baby’s cry and

dog’s howl mixed with the half-tuned jumping song

sung over and over and over to the beat of Ked’s

and rope in the driveway, the fireflies flashing their

idolatry to the stars. Angels and demons swear like

sailors and refuse to release their hold so these

unstoppable thoughts keep coming

because I can, indeed, imagine.


© Dana Hughes  4.9.18

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