A Shrine We Built for All the Things We Couldn’t Hold

The red sweater my late grandmother knitted,
the one with pink elephant buttons.
Wax lips, still in plastic.
The honeybee we thought was sleeping.
Thank you notes you wrote
but forgot to send.
What can we dig out
of this collapsed house?

Dried goldenrod for good fortune,
a willow branch for weeping,
for drying tears.
Playground sound—jarred in blue glass.
A photograph of a dove I found
and cared for before delivering
her to a rehabber.
A basket of pills I tried,
and sometimes still take.
The cat’s teeth I found on the rug
in the living room.
My hair: a mousy cloud I build
from the brush, the shower wall.
The “baby’s first” book I haven’t bought.
Twenty cobwebs, perfectly intact.
A mud-rusted horseshoe,
              all the universe’s luck in the form of oil and vapor.

Cover art: “Disturbances: Ornament” by Christopher Squier

Rebecca Griswold

Rebecca Griswold is an MFA candidate at Warren Wilson College. Her debut collection of poems is titled The Attic Bedroom (Milk & Cake Press). Her poems have appeared in Cimarron Review, Still: The Journal, Revolute, Pine Mountain Sand & Gravel, and others. She was a finalist for the River Styx International Poetry Contest. She’d describe herself as equal parts Valentine’s Day and Halloween. She owns and operates White Whale Tattoo alongside her husband in Cincinnati.