It’s not the mystery of your disappearance.
It’s not the grasping to remember
our last conversation. It’s not even the bones
or the animals that sniffed and scattered them.
It’s the eleven months between death
and discovery, each day a lie
until a stranger found you, piece by piece,
the same way I discovered you.
All the different birds flapping in your chest,
each one a different future. I tell myself
you didn’t choose this ending, you weren’t afraid.
You used to hold snakes in your hand
as you recited their origin and Latin name.
You wouldn’t be afraid of a bird
singing in your throat. Your abandoned car
drives backwards through my mind
your life rising up to meet you.
The letters you wrote me
stretch from here to the horizon.
Your love was wide enough
to forgive my leaving. The leaving
stretches from here to the horizon.
SHARON VENEZIO is the author of The Silence of Doorways (March 2013, Moon Tide Press). Her poems have appeared in numerous journals, including Spillway, Bellevue Literary Review, Reed, and elsewhere. She is also featured in the anthology Wide Awake: Poets of Los Angeles and Beyond as well as the anthology Stone, River, Sky: an Anthology of Georgia Poems. She lives in Los Angeles where she works as a behavior analyst specializing in autism. Read more at sharonvenezio.com.