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Reginald Shepherd - How People Disappear

If this world were mine, the stereo
starts, but can't begin
to finish the phrase. I might survive
it, someone could add, but that
someone's not here. She's crowned
with laurel leaves, the place
where laurel leaves would be
if there were leaves, she's not
medieval Florence, not
Blanche of Castile. Late March
keeps marching in old weather,
another slick of snow to trip
and fall into, another bank
of inconvenient fact. The sky
is made of paper and white reigns,
shredded paper pools into her afterlife,
insurance claims and hospital reports,
bills stamped "Deceased," sign here
and here, a blank space where she
would have been. My sister
said We'll have to find another
               And this is how
loss looks, my life in black plastic
garbage bags, a blue polyester suit
a size too small. Mud music
as they packed her in
damp ground, it's always raining
somewhere, in New Jersey,
while everyone was thinking about
fried chicken and potato salad,
caramel cake and lemonade.
Isn't that a pretty dress
they put her in? She looks so
lifelike. (Tammi Terrell
collapsed in Marvin Gaye's arms
onstage. For two hundred points,
what was the song?) Trampled
beneath the procession, her music.
Pieces of sleep like pieces of shale
crumble through my four a.m.
(a flutter of gray that could be
rain), unable to read this thing
that calls itself the present.
She's lost among the spaces
inside letters, moth light, moth wind,
a crumpled poem in place of love.

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Added: Feb 21 2003 | Viewed: 3735 times | Comments and analysis of How People Disappear by Reginald Shepherd Comments (26)

How People Disappear - Comments and Information

Poet: Reginald Shepherd
Poem: How People Disappear

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Comment 25 of 26, added on August 2nd, 2014 at 12:33 AM.

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Comment 24 of 26, added on November 17th, 2013 at 12:09 PM.

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