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I. I cannot seem to picture holes in my body like most
people do. That popular metaphor they use to represent
loss. I think of those cardboard boxes that come in different
shapes, displayed in bookstores. Those you don't especially
need but feel like walking away with like they've
always been yours. One resembles an emptied
pool, another like a cake eaten so carefully, the sponge
remains barely intact, imitating a box. And yet, for some
reason, you don't want to put anything in them. They look appealing
as they are, empty. When a friend loses something, maybe a
blown-off cap, I picture a green oblong box neatly caved
in his crown, through his skull. I can't visualize a hole, or
a collapsed floorboard, nor dug-out soil. Assorted colored
boxes in odd shapes, at different locations and time, fitting
flawlessly, like an expensive upgraded sink, through people's
body parts. Sometimes I picture them with a lid on but
they're still visible: an obvious bright patch of cardboard ingrained
in someone's palm, or at one side of another's abdomen.

II. Holes, usually from gunshot, are intentionally plumbed
by nature and open till the other end. True loss, to become
irretrievable, has to have an element of reach and is then
restricted by space—tracing inevitability. You lose a phone
and you search through the rectangle case by your thigh,
and seize nothing, there's only cardboard and skin.

III. You lose someone. But an entire
box the shape of your body can't possibly replace you
or your whole skeletal system would pop out. So you imagine
that loss, an open cocoon, as a single *****—a heart, or
at least half of it. You can't tell whether that side is capable
of beating, but when you knock on it, it sounds the same. You feel that compartment in your chest and it's all solid and compact,
maybe even scratchy. You reach and your hand doesn't go
through. Of course, it never arrived like a bullet. You deliberately
chose to put something in that box. And as much as you
rather wanted to see that bright ear-shaped box empty, leaving
it's contents to imagination, you compromised, thinking
half a heart wouldn't take too much space. And losing
that person, you think back on the day you first got the
box. It was never meant to be filled, you imagine. It looked
better on a shelf behind glass among other colored boxes:
firm as new and all equally fragile, maybe even
bearing a scent or taste. I believe this is one way to cope with loss,
by disassociating it—turning it into a pretty spectacle you'd want to
buy but don't, just another section one passes in a mall.
Luke Gagnon Jul 2015
1                                                                ­    4
she offers me,                                             a spot of dust
she raises me                                              under the couch,
on platitudes and warm bread                I know it’s
in return for my devotion                         there

she loves me like the boats                       today, I start spring-cleaning,
she keeps out on the ocean                      (this alone
she loves me to be molded,                      should receive
not to be unfolded                                     more recognition than it will)
                                                           ­           I pull out the couch
she bore me bones                                     the vacuum doesn’t quite
the lacrimal bone                                       reach the dust lying
the breastbone                                            on unused carpet,
all the cervical vertebrae                          the head
I use them to simulate                              keeps hitting the wall
her expectations                                        unproductive
                                                                ­     I put the furniture back
2                                                           ­        in place
I have names,                                             no one will see the lack
I wear them like badges                           of progress
inspired by something not quite
earned yet                                                   5
         ­                                                            while­ lucid dreaming
I assigned                                                   conste­llations were on
each name                                                  my skin
a compartment                                          and freckles in
of me                                                           the night sky
If I name them maybe
they will become                                       pollution drowned out
real, not just necessary                             two thirds
                                                          ­           even if most imploded
                                                        ­             before they were seen

3                                                          ­         6
with enough necessity                             were it not for shadows
anyone can tell a lie                                  I would surely learn to
                                                              ­       hate the light
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