Elisabeth Lloyd Burkhalter


So you find yourself at the terminus, and now what.
It’s Sunday.          The apartment, but for you & the orchid that
under your uncare will close into its own
                                                                      extravagance, is empty.
Bits of human voice
slap your window open—schoolboys downwind, twin cowlicks.
Straight pin
of a sparrow shot through the sky. It’s Fall.
You checked your past at the departure gate and did not
for your new life claim it. The question’s flipped
                                                                                  from Where to How.
Brilliant talcum light follows you
everywhere like a neglected lover. Haven’t you lately been
noun heavy—
                        steeple   wire   pigeon   pine    
                        No, spruce          This autumn
                        its palette          burnt shades of the city
                        birch tree   plane tree   unnamed tree
                        nos. 1–53          All calico
                        yellow-brown-blanching green—
                                                                               how fitting
the colors can’t stay still, and you
just as unfixed.
They call the in-laws here Imported Pieces.
Black iron plaques mark
who was taken from these buildings, for which war.
                                                                                        Imposter, imposter—
this is not your history. 
Dear stranger, it’s 3 o’clock.
                                                You must
know more than you know already.