The 2River View 26.4 (Summer 2022)

Abigail Dembo

The Brass Tacks of a Gray Day

There is no puzzle. There is
The texture of sugar at the bottom
Of a cup. The color
Of cinnamon, a silver fish

Fat in the man-made pond,
And happy in its fatness—
Making its sluggish circles, rising
Occasionally, as though it needs

To breathe, but gulps.
That is all, and that is hard
To think. The water, the cloud,
The mist, the mountain

Are one pale gray distance,
Far, but coming. Also the trees,
Black conifers lagging behind them
With heads bowed, hands in their pockets.

The Passenger

My grandfather died on the all-night bus, 
And now I know I may also die 
Alone, and publicly. So ends a man. 
And his home, with all contents, sold. All
Mahogany, brass statues, books 
Smelling of neglect, of cat, 
I watched his handwriting slide 
At a diagonal, the column of his  
Letters narrow and approach the edge 
Of the paper. I’ve been receiving  
Stamps for my phantom collection. 
The dun-breasted, red-throated passenger 
Pigeon, commemorated by tasting  
The back of a painted square of paper  
Or placing in a tea tin.

Abigail Dembo lives in Berkeley, California, where she serves as a poetry editor for Southland Alibi. Her work has been published, or is forthcoming, in Berkeley Daily Planet, The Furious Gazelle, Slipstream Magazine, and Ursa Minor.

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