Caitlin Ferguson


Still Life

I know the twisted root system
of the desert willow dying
in the yard and the rows
of straight edged scabs
delineating the inside of Niki’s
ankle that we don’t talk about
except when we’re drunk
off gas station wine and afraid
of sleep. Think of a shape
undone by its skeleton.
The way a star flings its cold
dead light across years of space
until it evaporates in my hands
or mornings so hot the night
can’t leave behind its residue.
It’ll take years to learn this grief
tastes like earth and the space
between each secret hurt is a line
that I can’t measure. I want
the light, all of its unknown histories,
that knifes through the window
and dies bright on the floorboards.
Each beam proof of an endpoint.
I understand this distance. It has
nothing to do with time or length
but how a body processes loss.

CAITLIN FERGUSON holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Rutgers University-Newark. Her work has appeared in The Volta, Toe Good Poetry, 2River View, and is forthcoming from Tar River Poetry. Currently, she lives in Las Cruces, NM where she is an adjunct professor.