Preserver
by Mark Bennion



When raised, her hands can move dam water
or make the innocent speak. And the fingertips
are reminiscent of the blind’s—
they calibrate dashboards, coffee tables, the soft jaw

of a loved one’s face. But today these hands
slip their way through a journal from 1958.
They rub the tatty edges and pale ink,
caress the dog-eared corners and pause

at the wonder of a desiccated ant,
the body stuck to page 62, the antennae
raised as if in flight. Pompeii grumbling
in the distance. All of it ready to crumble

at the thrust of a wrong syllable or accidental tilt.
All of it more a misplaced museum exhibit
than a vestige to pass on to a squirming line
of grandchildren. There is simply shudder

and mystery, casket and gasp.
More questions, fewer answers.
Oblivion held back as the hands withdraw.
Silence usurping words in this old frame.






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