Jason Fraley


I remember the crack of heels on hardwood
upstairs, the sound of a ghost fumbling
with bone. Then there were the mornings
when I didnít have to sweep slivers
of orchid from my balcony.
Then rumors she no longer wished to age
alone; she was a transient unable to pay rent.
But the landlord spoke otherwise.
He said that she had run her fingers
across the white walls of every room
and disappeared into the stains.

The Need to Leave Quietly

The screen door snaps shut on his fingers,
but gloves prevent the pinch.

He leaves between the broken spines
of cornstalks, footprints erased

almost instantly by wind and more snow.
There was no need to wake her

early, for her to shiver onto the porch
and yell for him. Her mouth

will be frozen like the irrigation channels
soon enough, questions trapped

beneath the permafrost sky,
under the weight of his boots.


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