by Jim Whiteside

your mouth past any jaw’s

unhinging        spread like drying flowers

petal by petal                unblooming

We lived for months in silence and without

touching        My skin I thought        is like a wall

good for keeping in and keeping out.        When

I opened the window                I invited only wind

but with it came        a scattering of leaves

shield-shaped bug, a layer of pollen.        We lived

looking away from our faces,                    paced the halls

and took turns                being the ghost

And what will you do when        even the specter

of me is gone        Will the dust praise you

What truth of yours        could it sing