The summer we read Dostoyevsky
I don’t remember anyone else but you.
First you were lost in Oates’ wonderland
then you joined me in crime
in the belly of that gray
shingle motel on Pawleys Island.
Evenings we rose from the depths
sat at the hunt board to peel shrimp on newspaper,
bit into blood ripe tomatoes.
Didn’t we lie in the sun with olive oil over our slim brown limbs?
Then back to our hidden quarters to perch on rusty cots
to muse over Siddhartha between Raskolnikov pages—
crickets in the corners of the knotty pine cave—
our own small ship—even though
we were well below deck.
I am with your ghost again
Rules for the dead
in your dream—
the old house is lit and no one
is home. You slip in—a stranger now—
but somehow it feels like the old comfort:
whitewashed brick floor, iron lantern.
A yellowed corridor afternoon. The sliding
glass door leads to the garden where soon
the dead alight: your mother and father
come to roost. The weight of the unspoken.
Your mother has a hazel gaze and holds
her dark purse in her lap—
the size of a king salmon—
with a gold clasp. Your father’s
cypress-gray face wreathed
You are on tenterhooks—
because if you speak—
they will suddenly fade
like fog. How do they enter
and then leave
this old world
so seamlessly? Now
no one home
Sally Stewart Mohney’s poetry collection, Low Country, High Water, won the Southern Poetry Anthology Prize from Texas Review Press. Other publications include A Piece of Calm and pale blue mercy, Main Street Rag Author’s Choice Series. Her work has appeared in the Charlotte Observer, Cortland Review, Iodine Poetry Journal, James Dickey Review, North Carolina Literary Review, Poetry Daily, San Pedro River Review, Town Creek Poetry, Verse Daily, WinningWriters.com and elsewhere. She is the recipient of the Jesse Rehder Writing Prize and her work has been featured in fine art productions.