exhibit a.    Gravity won’t touch them, sees their smoke and cobwebs
                 coming and crosses the street, avoiding eye contact.
                 With my spine pulled hard to this cold and canted floor,
                 eyes shut against the turning, I should not feel your
                 anachronistic weight condensing falsely familiar,
                 solid upon ribs and pelvis, unlikeliest legs squeezing
                 these credulous hips tightly to force a recollection of
                 your scent, a chimerical reflex from a long time never.

exhibit b.
    They are quiet as an awkward pause, as the held breath
                 before the gunshot. False are Hamlet and Marley, false
                 the garrulous shades that authors invent, forcing sounds
                 up puppet throats to drown out the resounding silence
                 of those who truly haunt, lips rusted shut, with
                 the terror of white noise dialed to zero. But you
                 I hear: obliterating my secret face, drop by
                 acid drop, with words that burn from lack of malice.

exhibit c.
    They are made of midwinter, cohering but barely
                 by that same palsied hand that rattles careless mist
                 into ordered structures of spun sugar and bitter math,
                 rime on paralytic limbs like nimble moss on a corpse,
                 a bad practical joke caught in the slowest eye-blink.
                 You are bound instead by warmth, invisibly red,
                 your blistering absence peeling back layers with heat
                 times ten, needles buried, sand into rivers of glass.

exhibit d.
    Above all, they are echoes of the dead, silenced voices
                 pacing empty hallways. But here and now, I feel your
                 cadence flutter beneath my cheek, the rhythmic crush
                 of eager fluid down dark and mythic tributaries,
                 every thrust an unanswered riddle. This is proof
                 of life, removed but unended: proof that you haunt me
                 too soon. Though I am not the one who quickens it,
                 there is nothing so incontestable as a pulse.

(first appeared in issue 1 of Packingtown Review)