between the second country curve

and first mail-pouch painted


ditched upside down

between roadkill

and exhausted mufflers

laid an unholy wreckage

like body separated from


and I’ve never been able to

          write about it

how the snow belt tightened

four inches around my throat

at four a.m.

how I knee-dropped

faster than falling mercury

that old familiar phone ring

still stings behind the ribs

handset braided to my ear

like his fingers in my hair

          just hours before

a brother’s shivering voice

echoed canyon-deep

a mother’s cries constricted

through the receiver

muffled by darkness

melting salt from

my teenage eyes

he died that january

          instantly, they said

never felt the cold burn

the dark agony before the


coming to rest beside broken glass

and aluminum cans

          crushed, like cheekbones

          and vertebrae


metal bent to triangles

possibility tossed among brittle 


a pack of marlboros, half-buried

just another snow-covered shade

of red

it’s january again

a reminder that you can’t recycle

first love

he can only remain an apparition

a colorless fog following me

through countless winters

a lost arc in an ill-fated sky

          too grey to make rainbows

©  lori hamilton


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