Jane Wayne

Traces The sun going downand no one here, nothing but a deflated beach-ball on the sand, a pairof tennis shoes near the water-line–– and on the road home, the dust itself––clouds risingfrom cars too far ahead to see. All the hoverings, the thin reminders. A screen door springs against the jamb, the stairscreak, and they return, brushagainst me––a touch softer than a spider-web on bare skin. Touchthat doesn’t last–– though I can hear themin the dark bedroom,their whispers, their faint breathing on the pillowbefore they sink into silence, hide their facesin the mirror––one over another,decades of them beneath its icy surface.Later they’ll emergewithout prompting––the pungent scent of rosemary, a harp arpeggio–– then just as quicklyslip from a room or through the hedge,another gray cat that won’t come when called. Winter Interior Near the window a woodpecker nagging at deadwood, the kind of coldout there that darkens needles onevergreens, makes a ring loose around a finger, and at the first hint of dusk, her ritual–– pulling down the shades as if she could keep out the dark,keep out the crows circling the trees. Although the film has ended, the screen still holdsthe image––some splinter in her palm she can’t extract–– permanent,she thinks, heart’s tattoo.Others move out, close the door behind them, but she stays onin a house where the staircase ends mid-air.Sometimes she’ll look up from a book to listen to the rain chanting––Tibetan monks,or is it a whale’s song?–– until a wave retreats and calm fillsthe room, like still water in a tidal pool. Jane O. Wayne’s lives in St. Louis, MO. Her books include The Other Place You Live (Mayapple Press, 2010), From the Night Album (Pecan Grove Press, 2007), A Strange Heart (Helicon Nine Editions, 1996), Looking Both Ways (U. of Missouri Press, 1984). Her poetry has appeared in Poetry, The Iowa Review, Ploughshares, Verse Daily, The American Scholar, The Journal, The Massachusetts Review, Poetry Northwest, The Cincinnati Review, Quarterly Review, and elsewhere.