Content

Issue 14
Dénouement

What passes for plot is merely
an accrual of non sequiturs,
a scatter of snapshots: a woman
crying at her wedding, a riptide
in the bay, a battered copy
of Madame Bovary by the bed.

Effects slip free of causes as easily
as lovers slip away in the night.
A woman’s tears might as well be
brought on by rain, her fate
determined by constellations
of stars or starlings.

Endings, surprising but inevitable,
leave you with nothing
but retrospect—in which motives
suddenly clamor for attention:
why the groom always seemed
a little suspect, why you’ve avoided
the ocean for decades, why all
you recall, after taking an entire
summer to read the book,
is sex and poison.