A sugar bowl committed suicide
when my back was turned,
shiny blue and white shards
strewn across my kitchen floor.
I press my finger to the grainy puddle
to taste the grains, read them like Braille,
let them define themselves on my tongue.
It’s a message, my neighbor Claire insists
as she opens a bottle of Pinot Noir.
She settles in, slips off her shoes,
and I tell her, finally, about the summer
that crumbled into a cold November so long ago.
I tell Claire, I don’t believe in ghosts,
but some mornings when the house heaves,
sucks in every breeze, then blows out
cleansing breaths that shiver like steam,
I wonder at my own stuttered truth.
This morning, I found a smudged handprint
on the dingy bathroom wall,
but when I stretched my fingers out,
it didn’t fit my hand.
Someone had time to linger.
Now Claire sips as if she has time.
She can afford to conjure fantasy when it’s not her house,
or her dishes smashed to the floor.
Soon the silence in these walls will begin to ache,
and she won’t be here to feel
the throb that echoes in my inner ear
and once again I’ll wish
half a bottle of wine was enough
to dissolve my doubt like sugar,
for a voice to splinter the blueness of time,
and find me finally broken enough,
to hear what he needs to say.