Postcard from the Knife Thrower by Alex Stolis

Postcard from the Knife Thrower
March 31 San Diego

I breathe in the scents of the room; sawdust, incense, faint lilt
of some kind of flower; a wine smell, bitter-light like aftertaste.
Fragrance alone and I know she is gone. I know she was here.

This was the place she took apart her body; restless, rumbling.
All of this is known. Not because of the white slip on the bed,
not the porcelain hairbrush, or the opened then forgotten make

-up tins. It’s the slow languid clack-clack of a broken fan beating
out a song of departure. I’ve been here before. I used to live here.
There, in the corner, where my coat used to hang. In the crack on

the ceiling I stared at while lying in bed. Wide awake insomnia-ed
out of my mind in the afterglow of lovemaking. We are legendary.
We become mythologized soon after death. All it takes is leaving.

by Alex Stolis

Editor’s Note: The first line of the second stanza sold this poem. The imagery is spot on: strange and perfectly spare. There are many poems about absence, but there are few which crack a reader’s emotional box so well.