where islands convect
in open sea, breath shifts
far off fault lines. Here
they are, sheets surround
them like mountains
they twist from the
An afternoon erodes, time-sift
dampens it. They are here,
their map will sprout
trees she ascends
and then accepts
that he may just up-
anchor and leave.
His voice comes rounding the corners of
her eye most midnights, hissing at her to
inspect the cellar oil tank from which he
exhales h’s up to the baseboard radiators.
Not dreaming, she hears water bugs spot
her walls, their antennae undulating from
bone paint, plaster sprouting its whispers.
While her hall carpet lies saturated where
his shadows still bleed at times, she gives
up climbing curtain vines trying to escape.
Thus she sweeps his silhouette into a trash
bag, stomps it, stuffs it with the dust mites
and pipe rust behind her washing machine.
Her follicles have slowed releasing
auburn and gold into their pale straws.
Warmth dissipates from her hair.
Sungrazing comets flame
their brightest before death—
all glow with no dying flicker.
Gusts wail the valley out back.
Claws rip tangles, scalp mind.
In her sleep a barn owl shrieks.
Wet strands circle the drain.
Ashen threads drip fingers,
stick to walls, wrap toes.
Still she brushes her hair on the porch,
sheds and renews for spring’s nesting lark
who will cushion her hatch by instinct.
About Catherine Zickgraf
Catherine Zickgraf’s main jobs are to hang out with her family and write poetry. Her work has appeared in the Journal of the American Medical Association, Pank, Victorian Violet Press and The Grief Diaries. Her recent chapbook, Soul Full of Eye, is published through Aldrich Press.
Read and watch her at caththegreat.blogspot.com