Puzzle of bones, try to take time out of a watch, stop sundown. It’s all the same weave, all warm from the compost, erasing the written page to blankness.
In the morning, the shadow of a hawk split the yard. Inside your ear, mother’s voice— stay away from that wall or you’ll fall, you’ll feel, you’ll see over. There’s another world inside.
In your pocket, you carry twelve black stones, rosary of willing deceit, accounting of misspent deeds. If sand fills your mouth, spit. If salt burns like a flame inside you, ignite. Any shard can split open your precious whole.
There is a crust, a crypt, a bomb crouched inside. You witnessed blue fragments of birds stabbed crimson by black beak. Maybe it is blood. Maybe it is only berries, too ripe. Everything tumbles.
If by wearing white she meant to invoke a balance—purity weighed against death—then she failed to reckon on rain.
All day long water streamed from rooftop to carve the snow into brief and delicate spans which collapsed into cinders.
It sounded like a thousand flutes at the moment the young girls take a breath, their lips still against metal. She paged
through books looking for the distance between inheritance and wheel tracks. Paper beneath her fingers adding up to the shush of stone ridge
revealed as the glacier retreats. Where can she unhouse her heart and allow it to be a ghost in the attic of this long story?
Erin Coughlin Hollowell lives in Cordova, Alaska — a small town on Prince William Sound inaccessible by road. She received her MFA from the Rainier Writing Workshop at Pacific Lutheran University and her BA from Cornell University. Most recently she has been published in Blue Earth Review, Alaska Quarterly Review, and Weber Studies. She has work forthcoming in Crab Creek Review. She was commissioned by the University of Alaska to co-write a play in verse entitled Bedsheets for the Alaska Humanities Forum.