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The Etruscans

                                    Catherine Wing


A single strand of hair
tangled in a sweater
is what’s left of us
who failed and then failed better.

One lonely button fallen
from the cuff of your greatcoat,
a phrase that wasn’t meant to
but which hurt, caught in the throat.

What’s left of us but dust,
a snagged thought on repeat,
a dictionary opened to find
the bone structure of a leaf.

The loss is gone from the kettle,
yet the kettle keeps the mold
for no reason, but it could not
let it go. Memory is cold.

And history is bound
together by a safety pin.
What’s left is rusted trowel,
ugly bowl, onion skin.

A fragment is like a wishing bone,
a relic to a moment’s sainthood,
hidden in a drawer: a solitary sequin,
a knotted piece of wood.

What’s left is a key to a lock
from an office, many offices before.
And the thought there’s less to come,
and all that’s gone, weighs more.


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