portion of the artwork for Jayne Pupek's poems

Lost Between Houses
Jayne Pupek

Blackbirds swallowed the morning. I expected rain.
Instead a milky fog moved in and erased the horizon.

Last week a hiker found bones protruding from a leafpile,
not a mile from here. In the papers, he said

what they all say, how it didn’t look human until
he saw the domed outline of a skull, and turning it over

in his hands, those empty eye sockets, black holes.
He couldn’t admit how he almost got lost in them, but I know

how hollow things have a way of drawing in a man;
how easy it is for a man to sink into the empty spaces

and live there. After word spread, folks took to locking
their doors and counting the heads of their children

like sheep. One missing girl and her scattered bones: now
neighbors look over their shoulders and avoid words

with strangers; they size up their kin, asking who could do
such a thing. I figured a good rain would have flushed out

the rest of her remains, but it’s been a dry season.
Nothing but blackbirds and fog. And a few rumors.

The papers said her name was Susan. Imagine that.
She had looked more like a Zelda to me.

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FRiGG: A Magazine of Fiction and Poetry | Issue 27 | Law & Order Issue | Winter 2010