The National Poetry Review

Molly Spencer


Goodbye is the last box half-packed, is the front door left
open. Goodbye is this quiet procession of men packing
years of muted sun in the back of a truck again. Today
the light through the redwoods reminds you
of a gentle white pine you will never again climb.
Back then, when the sky seemed to pass over
like one long movie, weeks of uncomplicated blue,
then occasional warm rains. The crew boss calls you over,
shows you the loose leg of your grandfather’s desk.
Yes, you say, it’s been that way for years.
Which doesn’t mean your heart won’t lurch inside
the scuffed walls of you when he pulls the leg out
of its peg hole, shuts it in a drawer. More flaws
as the rooms take on a shabby cast. Now they are dismantling
the bed you’ve slept on for years. Their overheard grunts,
the shift and clang of parts coming loose. You’ve lived
this day before. Now is the time to look away
so you won’t have to watch the broken body of it
lugged out into daylight once more—
headboard, footboard, wide golden flanks of its sides.

MOLLY SPENCER’s recent poems have appeared at Blackbird, FIELD, New England Review, and Ploughshares. Recent critical writing has appeared at Kenyon Review online, Tupelo Quarterly, and The Rumpus. She teaches at the University of Michigan’s Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy, and edits reviews of poetry collections, along with essays on poetry and poetics, for The Rumpus. Her debut collection, If the house, won the 2019 Brittingham Prize and will be out from University of Wisconsin Press in Fall 2019. A second collection, Relic and the Plum, won the 2019 Crab Orchard Open Competition and is forthcoming from SIU Press in Fall 2020.

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