In the Attic by Coleman Stevenson

Scavenged from the poem “Sway” by Denis Johnson

In terror I did not know
what to say. Between the bones,
grey breath, tarantella of once-feathers,
a pillow of herself, too much, it seemed,
for a skull this size. This is a story that begins
so stealthily, it’s over before we know something’s there.
Now the floor is opened. The bones suffer the light,
no longer love the wrestling of seed from suet,
berry from bramble. Who she was is all of us
in the sway of harmony and divergence,
sway of coyote and hyena that would have come
to eat her elsewhere. Nothing but the gradual
grinding of air could have her here. Every piece
of the world blends in. You will. I shall
now move my hands through the crevice in the wood
and scoop her out, brush away the fluff.
All moves to an end, and ends:
a hole in the floor. Ambulances. Fire-gutted cars.
Why even speak if it can’t come out a poem?

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