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Jane Wayne

Traces           

 

The sun going down

and no one here, nothing but

                   a deflated beach-ball

         on the sand, a pair

of tennis shoes near the water-line––         

and on the road home,

         the dust itself––clouds rising

from cars too far ahead to see.         

 

All the hoverings, the thin reminders.  

A screen door springs

         against the jamb,  the stairs

creak, and they return, brush

against me––a touch

                   softer than a spider-web

         on bare skin. Touch

that doesn’t last––

 

         though I can hear them

in the dark bedroom,

their whispers, their faint breathing

                   on the pillow

before they sink into silence,

         hide their faces

in the mirror––one over another,

decades of them

 

         beneath its icy surface.

Later they’ll emerge

without prompting––the pungent scent

         of rosemary, a harp arpeggio––

                   then just as quickly

slip from a room or through the hedge,

another gray cat that won’t come

         when called.

 

 

Winter Interior

 

Near the window a woodpecker nagging

         at deadwood, the kind of cold

out there that darkens needles on

evergreens, makes a ring loose

                   around a finger,

 

and at the first hint of dusk, her ritual––

         pulling down the shades 

as if she could keep out the dark,

keep out the crows circling the trees.

                   Although the film

 

has ended, the screen still holds

the image––some splinter in her palm

         she can’t extract–– permanent,

she thinks, heart’s tattoo.

Others move out, close the door

 

behind them, but she stays on

in a house where the staircase

         ends mid-air.

Sometimes she’ll look up

                   from a book to listen

 

to the rain chanting––Tibetan monks,

or is it a whale’s song?––

         until a wave retreats

                   and calm fills

the room, like still water in a tidal pool.

 

 

Jane O. Wayne’s lives in St. Louis, MO.  Her books include The Other Place You Live (Mayapple Press, 2010), From the Night Album (Pecan Grove Press, 2007), A Strange Heart (Helicon Nine Editions, 1996), Looking Both Ways (U. of Missouri Press, 1984). 

 

Her poetry has appeared in Poetry, The Iowa Review, Ploughshares, Verse Daily, The American Scholar, The Journal, The Massachusetts Review, Poetry Northwest, The Cincinnati Review, Quarterly Review, and elsewhere.