by Ruth Foley
This is the between-world, the knot
in the ceiling where the rain comes through
on a sunny day in the middle of August,
the cooling room where the piano plays
by itself. This is your breath, although you
do not need it now. You can see it here.
It can remind you who you thought
you used to be. This is the corridor.
Your tread should be heavier at night.
In the light, please limit yourself
to the corners of their eyes, or the space
behind their vision. Gaze at them.
Try to speak. Some of them say
they can hear you, although it’s never
happened to me. Here is where we keep
the spiders. Let them out in swarms
or not at all. Here is the breaker box—
some like to think that they can find you
better in the dark. This is the mirror.
It doesn’t serve you now. This is the glass
that has been left too close to the edge
of the shelf. This is the rocking chair.
This is the curtain that moves without
wind. This is the bed. This is the remote
control. Run the water in the shower—
that, too, is best done at night or
when someone is alone. With practice,
you can turn the water red. This is the branch
you can tap against the window.
Here is where the dog sleeps, in case
you want to pull his tail or stroke
his ears. Here is a bottle of over-flowered
perfume. Here is a creaky step, here
a hinge in need of oil, here a place
to whisper. Try to learn a name.
Try to make them claim they don’t believe.
Ruth Foley lives in Massachusetts, where she teaches English for Wheaton College. Her recent work is appearing or forthcoming inAdanna, qarrtsiluni, Redheaded Stepchild, and Umbrella, among others. Her poetry has been nominated for the Best New Poets, Best of the Net, and Pushcart anthologies. She also serves as Associate Poetry Editor for Cider Press Review.