Todd Osborne


Letter writing’s over, reserved for those who dwell in memory—grandparents
or friends overseas. We have cut ourselves off—no Wi-Fi, no cable, no landlines
to trip over. Hold me up to the light. See what falls through and what is
obfuscated by language. What stains and what washes off. I give up.
Have the accumulated miles of runaways, dropouts, and newlyweds ever
been tallied or written down? Like Population signs, rarely changed
but menacing in their exactitude: a precise number, or else we are all
undone. The sun isn’t our sun anymore. The grass is unfamiliar
to our feet. We cannot sing either without being called a liar:
the laundry we stored dirty in hampers unwoven. The fabrics unraveled
—birds; stars; abandoned railroad tracks lead nowhere. Every path
out of every city has been traveled incalculable times. Nothing is
unknowable here except the breadth of the sky and how its hands hover
over towns and are seen as UFOs. At night, this whole place exhales.
I place two hands under my ribs and lift my diaphragm. I let go.