Construction Literary Magazine

Fall 2020

Isle de Jean Charles; Fukushima and Other Departures

Isle de Jean Charles; Fukushima and Other Departures
Photograph via Flickr Karen Apricot
Isle de Jean Charles

Go inland. Cross the bridge for the last time.
Come the rain that will come, what choice?
Gather seeds and settle elsewhere, where wheat replaces waves,
where the oar is mistaken for winnowing.
Press the tissue and charcoal to the stone
and grieve for the line and cast, and the net,
             and the heave and flail and flap in the boat’s bottom.

Your mother always feared fire, but was wrong. See her turn
and turn
in her grave        as the water rises.

Fukushima and Other Departures

What we leave behind        hurried        in a frenzy –
tizzy, as our grandmothers used to say. They, who never had to decamp as we – clothes in the dryer, dishes in the sink, the book open
on the table. I will depart
in this fashion: with haste, in fear.
My life mattering at that moment, in the end.
in the hall, hangs a painting of mine.
And in the gentlemen’s chest, a pale pink slip
of the kind I once wore to call you to my side. And, still,
it serves that purpose,
though I am not there.
You wander the streets and mark the occasion,
the sad, mournful state of the torn curtain
and always the shoe, the one shoe.
And there are no streets, but rooms. Or rather, both.
See how most everything is affected – certainly, what matters:
this organ and that, that Nabokovian gland that never gets its due.
Our hair: one day, we found it there, in our hand,
a gift, tossed off the porch for the birds.
We are not old enough to resign ourselves just yet,
though there are days we feel so. Some inkling.

More: a wish to return.
And a question of what is left.