Ashley Toliver


When the Opossum is Near Death and Lying Broken in the Pillowcase (1), A Killing (2) Responds:

once in the airport as she reached for her purse I saw the shadow of another life scuttle across her cheek I felt drafts of her peeling away    you know for days I've had visions of her hands folding up like telephone wires and packing back into her sleeves      the past is purling a new axis now the moths are all flying backwards  from that time, that first time,     where the child dipped his toe in the Pacific, where the cypress bent low to touch her hair       the late August sky was filling with birds and I knew everything I'd learned was stored in her dress




(1) His neighbors stand around it like a fence gasped open as the man coagulates to the curbside where for a minute he dreams of his wife on the fire escape climbing down the building to leave him the pink skylining behind her like the animal now loosened like a dress sighing open comes scripting through the pillowcase fiber

(2) In the long room of the mallet arc    biceps triceps deltoid extensor filling with red suspended he is not thinking but there still thinking it on     singing it forward to meet the small hunch      the stutter-lined map of belonging expands     a bell comes crashing out






[The rip that can't be re-sewn.]