What I Know of Where You Went

by Austin Segrest

A final roar of breakers
one morning rattles the windows
of your ear and will not stop.

This is the unbearable
whooshing, the sleep-sacking howl
that drums your spirit back to life

and gets you to go to the doctor—not
the years of polite suggestions
sharpening like your figure—not

the fear of your own demise.
This was your warning –
after these last slivers

of fat depleted in your middle ear
there would be nothing left
to keep your body from eating

itself – nothing left between
you and the whistling void.
You had set yourself in motion,

wound so tight that leaving
your body’s house felt like
the only option – a purpose

bursting as you diminished.
Where did you go? I couldn’t
say but you didn’t want to be found.

I looked where your finger choked
your wedding ring, in private
spaces where you vanished

in nightmares, floating
down a dry well. I peered
into vaults, membrane-covered,

and sifted through basins
of dry riverbeds, finding
nothing more than little tools, bones, shells.

Originally from Alabama, AUSTIN SEGREST teaches at Lawrence University in Wisconsin. His poems appear in The Yale ReviewThe Threepenny ReviewNew England ReviewPloughsharesEcotone, and others. This fall he will be a Provincetown fellow at the Fine Arts Work Center.