THERMOS 10: Hunter Deely, “Echolocation”

“Echolocation” is a poem from a special issue of THERMOS featuring Hunter Deely’s poetry. You can check back every couple days in the coming month for more of his poetry. For an introduction, see here.



Echolocation


You sent me an envelope full of leaves and feathers. Egret
feathers. Leaves from a tree they don’t have around
here. Paper postmarked in South Carolina where sharks
                                                                      swim the river.


In the Dr.’s office I reached into my breast


                                (pocket)


to feel the veins
                                                and ridges


that spoke wordlessly like an equation


                                (crickets in the cupboard don’t sing)


A small woman across from me arched her body over the
screen of her phone


at the angle of the back legs of crickets to their wings,


still
                                                                                                        as wood.


And then a tremor burst through her hand. Almost
like fire. Like she had Parkinson’s but
she was not


                              (I don’t think)


the patient.


Patient. She waited for her husband there for three and a half hours.
Never moved but her hand


                              shook
                                                                            and shook.


On the way to the pharmacy I felt an overwhelming urge to have a memory.
Not to remember, but to hold a memory in my hand.


I tried to touch your letter but the envelope was empty. No leaves. No feathers.
Just my name in the center, your name in a corner, and a town I’ve never seen


on a bent piece of paper.


That night I took a pill and dreamt sharks in the windows.


                                                (glass is melted sand laid on still water to cool)


It was quiet but I felt a cricket


                shake


on my chest.


Just enough to release a wave


                                                                through glass
                                                                like waterbirds
                                                                into clouds.


That’s how crickets remember


                                              one


                                  another.


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