Arsenic Lobster poetry journal Issue Forty
Spring 2016
Jessica Goodfellow

My grandmother gave me, for safekeeping,
her mother’s hairpins, mother-of-pearl.
In my drawer one of three turned itself,
an echo of its owner, into opalescent dust.

My neighbors shake their heads as I repair
the shoji screen each time it tears.
Better get used to it, they say,
as anyone raised in a paper house would.

I fix what I can: rebraid the honeycomb,
repot the feverfew, chanting, It is not odd
to long for what you are short of. Then, at last,
an atlas: there is no center in a cemetery.

Every fossil is an autograph. There is no
keeping. There is no safe. A stranger is
strange, yes, but what’s stranger is looking
at your own life, wondering, Why?

Repinning the pinwheel, untangling
the eggshell, not knowing what your house
is made of, or what to do about the last two
mother-of-pearl hairpins. I wore them only once,

worrying all the while I’d lose them. I need
not have worried; already they are
losing themselves, crumbling while I plug
a hole in the bucket with the face of a compass,

while I resole my paper shoes with pages torn
from last year’s calendar, and when those run out,
from next year’s—mining the lend in calendar,
walking as far as I can on the phases of the moon.

About Jessica Goodfellow

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