Priscilla Barton


Inanimate objects know history. They have
been lifted, rearranged, made to hold other
inanimate objects. The book I was reading
when the phone rang sits dog-eared on the
red cushion of a white wicker chair in our
backyard. I have fallen asleep in that chair
on warm summer nights while you sat quiet
beside me, writing poetry.

Someone's brakes failed, left you inanimate.
My purpose is to identify, but I hear myself
lying. I tell them it's not you. I tell them you
could never keep your hands this still. They
wait for me to change my mind. You always
laughed at how impossible it was for me to
admit being wrong. I admit being wrong.

My skin is the hard cover of an unread book,
and my legs won't bend. So many of your poems
were about me; how I gave you reason to breathe.
I never once wrote of you, never once mentioned
what I always feared losing. You were my only
superstition. The birdbath holds the unquenchable
thirst of one hundred sparrows. Inanimate objects
know history. I cannot move.

Previously published in Rustlings Of The Wind

Location: Kings Park, New York

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