Elegy Unearthed

For Charlottesville

My city, hardly a city, still
swimming like a newborn—
two winters into this dream
the streets feel pale and distant.
I made my room so clean last night
I thought I might disappear, folding
laundry until the space looked smaller
like something out of a children’s book.
Or like Meg’s window in the corner of the television.
Or like an engine in reverse but heard
through playback. Last night in the dark
something seemed to give, so I scraped the salt-licked brick
for the heat beneath. In the newer version of this dream
everything is still red and distant
and August finds bodies pressed to the street
like too many petals collapsing. Each husk unearthed, unfolded
in my two steady hands. My city, I am trying to write my way
back to you, but out here I remember
only echo or ghost. Or these hands
shaking, all through the night.
Even in the body each story ends
outside of the body, and here in snowy Boston
something is left buried. Easily, like broken glass. Like light
bouncing off the sidewalk.