What Do You Know About the Equivocation
of Loss In Your Cells?
I name my lover
My friend who’s mind
How candy became fancy
After finances changed.
Still, in all that specificity
You heard grief spill through
The first time I said
butter or that’s true.
We haven’t named it all correctly.
There’s a vague glory in the details
How you clutch to tragedy’s naming of things
As you did to Joe the Dog, or your stuffed-
Bunny, who was just Molly,
before you burned her paw
On your father’s red-hot stove,
were we all urgent curiosity
You remember, or perhaps remember the telling –
your little hand, clutching Molly’s small paw,
The drying chilis strung from the ceiling,
the sink opposite. How maybe you stood on tip-toes?
How maybe you were stove-height by then?
You remember a specific fast moment
Of the burning and then these disjointed moments
After. The rage-fear-punishment of reaction.
You changed her name to command specificity
As you were told to do with all things
regret, loss, shame. You buttoned up
What could have been such a different story.
What really happened when you burned Molly’s paw?
He had just left, moved house, the concrete
You could substantiate with flat-palmed touch
Was questionable and crumbling. The bunk bed,
The familiarity of his roommate’s baritone
Voice, the cow next door, the routine of travel
Up the road almost to the mountain
I can still find evidence of your shedding cells
flaking forgiveness, suffused and sticky.
Althea Seloover, 2020