The Softest Gossip
Allison Adair

the softest gossip you'll ever hear

(oh, honey)
when the storm grows too quiet she taps on her head.
the lights gurgle; her hands check the bed for pennies.

(spell it out, pepper)
stairwell rot, that tender wooden spoil (well) she takes the mold up
up to break over a ceramic bowl.

(when will she learn)
the swell is a tightly drawn cloud, she is weary
from the weight of the floor.   age six, she buried a rabbit
with a spoon.

why the bulbs are covered with foil, the smell of milky green
stalks, extra-wide like smoke-mouth.   tulips the most broken

and how the river, too, braids to one color—
damp casts out her lambent chalk, deep rocks drenched with moss, rippling
silver shards for one last flash
(the matinee resumes its hush)

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