(for Hortensia, March 1824-April 1905)

A friend digs bones of what she’s loved and packs them with her each move. Between the draperies and wedding dishes. I spread ash over snow for traction. Such terrible beauty. My husband can’t name the feeling that clamps joy. But I am easy with the language of grief, the insistence of ghosts to reside in street lights and backdoor steam from the take-out place on 5th. A dog’s throated bark. A necklace slipped unnoticed, lost. Maybe this is why I write to you, keeper of what I’ve prescribed to hold meaning. Namely, desire. It’s all accidental. A pronouncement of nerves and muscles between collarbone and rib. Between A sharp and B.

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