Still Life with Ivory

If I could move I’d close the shutters he left open. I’d trap the windowsill blackbird in the house.

If I could move I’d take the pears—almost rotten as usual—from their lacquer bowl.

If I could move I’d toss the cracked vase against the wall to wake him.

If I could move my mouth I’d ask him to lean forward in his wicker chair and tell me his lie story
about elephant hunting, the ivory pendant below his beard. I’d say, Dear Uncle, try to be
again a curious child who hasn’t yet grown into his shoes.

If I could move I’d say I’m sorry: I’d say, Wasn’t it dangerous? and, Weren’t there tigers? I’d say I’m

If I could move I’d say I’m sorry because I’ve forgotten what happened but it was my fault.

If I could move I’d crunch a pear and throw-turn my back and cartwheel-kick away from him into
the first sunrise.

If I could move I’d rip a hair from my nose, yes my nose, to learn to cry.

If I could move I’d trap the lovely blackbird, hope for superstition. How many days till it brings
death to the house?

If I could move I’d march across the rug and check his pulse.

Brad Aaron Modlin’s poetry, fiction, and nonfiction have appeared in Denver Quarterly, Indiana Review, Florida Review, Proximity Magazine, and Superstition Review. He teaches creative writing and literature at Ohio University, is on staff of New Ohio Review, and edits Quarter After Eight: A Journal of Innovative Literature.
*Photo courtesy of Coanri/Rita
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