The Once-Loved Book

Poem by Terri Witek

Now you are closed to me,
little bandbox of wishes, stone pillow.
News wafts back: on three sides


you still ease lovers from cliffs,
the fourth loops an old bypass
over hushed folds and strings.


“I just can’t get into this,” he claims,
tossing you back on the quilt:
who now will speak for your shadow citizens


muttering in their white ditches?
A breath catches on page 12,
sputters into the hum of a snowplow,


and though the dreamer beside me
turns back toward the city,
I am already sliding from shoulder to highway,


swearing again this is not my daddy,
my garden, my cold fingers (forgive me!)


brushing the elements from cheeks and chin