Chinese Box #3

Because the spirits had been here,
we picked up things and knew they

could not be merely of this world.
The clothespins by the hamper, the stain

on the ironing-board’s cover; good shirts
monogrammed with letters that once named

someone who walked and loved and bore
his weight among us, and drove

his secret need— who knows or cares now
the actual reason— into my mother’s body.

Once, twice, a hundred times, I will never know
the actual story. Only that I wish I could find

some antique remnant: brooch with a border
nubby to my touch, cuff links, postcard

inked in code; scent that must have risen
from bodies in the wake of such furtive love.

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