The Interrupted Sleep of Skeletons

by Stuart Dischell

Your eyes are gone and nearly
All we knew of the city,
Its graveyards and walls,
The spires, domes, and towers,
Its little incorporated villages
(Only their names survive),
The lane where your parents lived,
Your musical uncles, the sitting room,
The bowl of asters on the table.
How we listened to your father
Play his compositions. After dinner
We walked through the scattered
Blossoms of the chestnut trees.
You were older in that house
Among the books, the candlesticks,
Your mother’s perpetual illness
Your father’s gambling losses.
We kissed in the arbor
And you were such a girl
I did not kiss you again
Until our wedding day. A carriage
Led that procession, too.

STUART DISCHELL is the author of Good Hope Road, a National Poetry Series Selection, Evenings & AvenuesDig SafeBackwards Days and Children With Enemies and the pamphlets Animate Earth and Touch Monkey and the chapbook Standing on Z. His poems have appeared in The AtlanticAgniThe New Republic, SlateKenyon ReviewPloughshares, and anthologies including Essential PoemsHammer and BlazePushcart Prize, and Garrison Keillor’s Good Poems. A recipient of awards from the NEA, the North Carolina Arts Council, and the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, he teaches in the MFA Program in Creative Writing at the University of North Carolina Greensboro.