A Thing Past, an excerpt from Come Closer, by Leanne Averbach

A Thing Past

may be plucked of a sudden from the well, its memory
cavity. No query is necessary, nor forwarding address.

It may arrive dull, meaningless, slathered in vague clutter,
or rise pristine to quake us, better

than ever from nowhere. It will peel us raw
in a flash—that muted ransom. It repeats, no will to resist,

harnessing us to the bed. It has a keen sense
of smell and fashion. It remembers a friend

of a friend who knew all about the incident. It is a witness
who doesn’t show up as you make the case again, again the indefinite

verdict, an urge to call someone. Hello? Am I okay? Ruby cascades
of elixir in your glass help alternately to hold it, send it back into the well, create

new files in which to keep it. That awkward taste of the half-
learned, the feel of being tattooed inside, an extra set of organs

for recalling. Out the window Canada Geese point elsewhere,
passports in their brains. They take one last look at themselves

in the lagoon before slipping off the radar as gulls scratch
the air, bragging winter-worthiness

through rubbery feathersuits and I drift
beneath the shadowy flim-flam of love.


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