For Mary Who Was Killed Here Before I Moved In

I have tried on hands and knees To find the dark stain That must be Blood in the hardwood.

Rubbing my fingers along the fabric Of her curtains, I want something To be missing —or torn.

They say it was violent, and happened

In this room. A dancer,

My neighbor tells me, nodding his head.

I think of my father Killing a cat in the barn, a spot Relentlessly left on the floor That never came clean.

And the highway that killed My brother glistens still With broken glass suddenly imbedded Under Montana sun.

But this is clean. No signs No trace. And I long for a shadow To relieve such perfect disappearance.

A clock should stop

At the instant of death. I need to know

That this woman lived.

So I stand here holding on Hard to the windowsill as if it were Her ballet barre, and dream

Of the floor, worn by her practicing, Shining beneath my feet.

— Corrinne Hales

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