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.