Allison Titus



Fell asleep listening to the missing persons
podcast that features two cadaver dogs

named Grief & Breeze
who rove the brackish lakeside woods

for some scrap of scent
to bring the forensics team huddled

by the van with the guy from the CBC
who’s tracking the cold case. Thirty years,

a lapse that holds the myth of any life

& its making, so what will the world
drag back into daylight now?

Fevers of kudzu; black snakes
coiled into zeroes on rocks.

Today I told her it was over
then went to the focus group

meeting. I was part of the target
demographic & they wanted all

my opinions but I felt too sad
to give them so listened, didn’t

speak. The air flush before rain
as I walked home later along

the train tracks & the dishwasher
smoking out back of the pizza

place with his apron on.
He stood where oil pools in little lakes

as I cut across the parking lot;

he waved & I waved back
& ignored the call that came,

put my phone back in my pocket.
I know silence is suspect & seems
like submission

even when it’s not:           Listen            sometimes

a person just can’t speak.
The world is loud & blurs

with sound. It echo-chambers.
& the opposite is a room built by Microsoft

to improve their bottom line
where the only noise is your own body,

just the amplified sound of blood
& pulse singing beneath the surface

of your skin.           When they dredge the lake
at the end of Episode

Three, I am listening in the dark
to hear what comes after

grief collapse time
between us:

                           a body pulled

from its ache into daylight.
It’s nothing if not grotesque.

& some of us look away
& some of us want to watch.

ALLISON TITUS is the author of The True Book of Animal Homes (Saturnalia) and a forthcoming chapbook, Sob Story (Barrelhouse).

Issue Four
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