How can you tell
where things hide? How do you hear their drifting
as they leave snail-like clues
shifting through solid wall?

You’ve reconciled lost spouses
of earrings,
netted a shoe
that had taken to wandering the house.

Summoning fugitive keys
with magnetized fingers
or an invisible headlamp,
you take the hints of a breeze.

You block escape routes
gently, almost as if
you’re waiting open armed
at the base of a laundry chute.

Cultures with furtive heels
return to your scholar’s view,
whole biographies
lost on ox-drawn wheels;

memories in muddy pools
of past years resurface
if you cast at their edge,
clustering in eager schools.

Given such powers,
could you rescue
with a lighthouse rake of dark waves
our foundered hours—

past the mouldings’ keep
retrieve for me
years of your midnight riffs,
soft words before sleep?

This appeared in the June 2014 issue.

Elise Partridge wrote Fielder’s Choice and Chameleon Hours.

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