to her father
from Periodicity by Iris A. Law (Runner-up)
Something of you
still slips through the keyholes.
A whining in the pipes, or wind
nudging the leaves
of the mulberry tree—
I bristle, hearing your boots
at corners, but round them
to find only spiders, mice
sniffing at crumbs on a sill.
I’ve been poring over your
shelves of pickled things,
looking for a wisp of hair or smear
of oil, small evidence of your hands
on these jars. But their walls
remain crystal. The pupil-less
bodies rise in their fluid, bump
dumbly against the glass.
I’ve locked my folios away, will live
a little while in the darkness of this room,
the curtains drawn. Lately, I’ve found
the color blue to be untenable alone.
Iris A. Law is Kundiman Fellow and a graduate of the M.F.A. program at the University of Notre Dame. She edits the online literary magazine and blog Lantern Review: A Journal of Asian American Poetry and currently works as a teacher of college composition.