by Jacob Appel


THAT GIRL WHO LEFT me breathless
Once dead to me, now dead
Extinguished in a house fire in Brighton.
How unremarkable the house looks
On the television screen:  The charred
Shutters and flame-gnawed siding
Ill-fit masks for the discount spool
Of band-aid days and carpool years
Trimmed short so abruptly.

The husband is giving interviews.
One hand cradles a photograph
Of this woman whose body he has claimed,
His arm covetous around her shoulders
With the two daughters, Cheryl
And the younger one—half-orphans now—
Posed like war trophies.

He will remarry, of course; quickly too.
Who dares begrudge him that?  Because
One can love again, if never as one loved
At seventeen.  He will recall her tenderly.
I will reach for her in the darkness
Like a boyhood treasure lost behind a sofa,
Irretrievable, forever inches beyond my fingertips.

Jacob Appel

JACOB M. APPEL's most recently publications include a novel, The Biology of Luck, and a story collection, Einstein's Beach House.   He teaches at the Gotham Writers' Workshop and practices medicine in New York City. 

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