Shell Game

Holly Woodward

This afternoon, mists shroud the mountains that raised them.

I missed the eclipse, stunned by the obit

of a man I did not know lived.

Each day takes its slice of memory’s face.

The moon looks down on us, a clock no hands touch.

What would it cost for a fistful of dust

to sift through our fingertips? 

The hands of night must stay gloved.

Clouds film it like the transparent skin

the frog raises over its golden eye

to protect the black pool below.

The eye is a kind of skin—

all senses are touch, even that tiniest bone

in our ears, dangling like a hanged man in the wind. 

I remember everything that happened to my lost face.

The stars are not falling to us—we’re falling

through them, shards of disasters from our passage.

Under cover of darkness, a curtain of light

flutters in the wake of the sun, as if

night slipped knives from this world to the next.

We give each conflagration a name, or at least

a number, but they should remain unspoken

to mark the loneliness of gods.

Stars need vast emptiness to exist—

you can’t get close enough to hear their roar.

Holly Woodward is an artist and writer whose works have won over a hundred honors. She spent a year as a doctoral fellow at Moscow University; she also studied for two semesters at Saint Petersburg U. She served as writer in residence at Saint Albans, Washington National Cathedral. Holly was a fiction fellow at CUNY's Writers Institute for the last four years.

©2018 HighShelfPress. 

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