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How People Disappear Analysis

Author: poem of Reginald Shepherd Type: poem Views: 12

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If this world were mine, the stereo

starts, but can't begin

to finish the phrase. I might survive

it, someone could add, but that

someone's not here. She's crowned

with laurel leaves, the place

where laurel leaves would be

if there were leaves, she's not

medieval Florence, not

Blanche of Castile. Late March

keeps marching in old weather,

another slick of snow to trip

and fall into, another bank

of inconvenient fact. The sky

is made of paper and white reigns,

shredded paper pools into her afterlife,

insurance claims and hospital reports,

bills stamped "Deceased," sign here

and here, a blank space where she

would have been. My sister

said We'll have to find another


               And this is how

loss looks, my life in black plastic

garbage bags, a blue polyester suit

a size too small. Mud music

as they packed her in

damp ground, it's always raining

somewhere, in New Jersey,

while everyone was thinking about

fried chicken and potato salad,

caramel cake and lemonade.

Isn't that a pretty dress

they put her in? She looks so

. (Tammi Terrell

collapsed in Marvin Gaye's arms

onstage. For two hundred points,

what was the song?) Trampled

beneath the procession, her music.

Pieces of sleep like pieces of shale

crumble through my four a.m.

(a flutter of gray that could be

rain), unable to read this thing

that calls itself the present.

She's lost among the spaces

inside letters, moth light, moth wind,

a crumpled poem in place of love.


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