BECAUSE TIME GROWS SHORT

            I NEED TO KNOW
where the wind has gone, why the woods are still,
and why a hole has opened up behind the house—
round as a drain—and stolen the water from the creek
that ran through the cleft in the embankment nearby
for so many years: fringed with ferns and thorns
and blackberry bushes
that are only just returning
from a deadly winter.

            I AM ASKING YOU NICELY
not to leave the doors unlocked
or the curtains open
or the doors ajar.
Except when I am heaping dirt into the hole,
this pit that grows deeper but never wider—
I need you to watch this
from behind the glass, with the curtains parted
—just in case.
Please keep the cats in,
and please do not lock me out.

            IT IS TOO DEEP TO FILL
without scraping the rest of the garden into it, tearing up our earth,
and it has drawn everything inside itself—
it echoes with the trickling of water as if from a great height
and the sound of children playing in the woods,
the snapping of branches and the animated conversations,
unintelligible at a distance,
which always used to startle the cats—
and which we do not hear anymore
unless it is coming from the hole,
dithering like an old recording.

            I CANNOT TAKE THINGS BACK
from this earthen mouth, this sightless eye
rounded wide in mocking surprise,
as if it believes I did not know that time passes
and takes away the happy voices,
the neighbors we knew, the life in our house,
the health in our bodies
that too early learned
to comprehend death:
so sudden and irreversible.

            HOW WELL I KNOW
that few things can return again
like the wild blackberries do,
or like the beds of tiny white lilies,
those heavy columns of bells
ringing silently over the creek.
But I will not give the life remaining,
our final and greatest fortune,
to hear the past again.

 

IN A BREATHLESS SPACE

There are currents that move beneath the light,
           someplace that has never known stillness,

far beyond the waves rabid with white foam.
           It is soundless in this place.

This benthic carousel conjures in its silent pressure
           whispers of things submerged, locked up in a breathless space:

the fallow fringe of deer hide in the frame around a license plate,
           a near miss, a glancing blow, an escape;

no blood on the car or on the pavement—
           but years later on the bathroom floor; fresh, surgical—

red on white tile, a nosebleed coursing through the channels of the grout:
           a delta of right angles dammed at the door.

And in the vacuum all around the memory there is blood,
           too deep and dark to see, but thick enough to taste,

and to feel the beating of the heart that pumped it
           from within the ribcage that trembles in the moving currents

in a dark mirror,
           in quiet reflection—

in endless motion,
           in fearful search of the corpus

of memories preserved by the cold.


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GIA GRIMOIRE is a writer, Mediterranean classicist, and interactive fiction creator from upstate New York. She is passionate about archaeology and the uncanny, and can be found on Twitter at @RicassoFiction.