I would wipe my hands on a cheesecloth,
feel for the ring in its folds, then remember:
broken off, like a shard of glass
in a person's palm.
That was a hard year. My hands
and their symmetry. Deep
in backyards across the country are buried
shoeboxes containing the skeletons of cats.
I wanted to be rid of his memory
like this. To say a few words
and walk away. Instead, I carried ashes,
scattered them from my pockets.
Poor ankles, cut up and ravaged
by narrow shoes. They will heal,
I know, but each walk reopens
the hurt. I'm not talking about
him, now. I'm talking about a life
where I look for fault and find it
in my feet. Bless the blood
that blossoms from my heels,
the blankets buried with cats
to keep them warm.
Shevaun Brannigan is a graduate of the Bennington Writing Seminars, as well as The Jimenez-Porter Writers' House at The University of Maryland. She has had poems appear in such journals as Best New Poets 2012
, Court Green
, and Free State Review
. She is the first place recipient of the 2015 Jan-ai Scholarship through the Winter Poetry and Prose Getaway. Her favorite poetry gig is the workshop she leads at her local Domestic Violence Shelter, and her work can be found at shevaunbrannigan.wordpress.com
more by Shevaun Brannigan:
Ode to Kingsessing