by Sarah Dickenson Snyder
To dig below as if I am finding and labeling metal or gems, to put them away neatly brushed,
encased in see-through bags. The invisible cloud of her perfume, buttery brown-edged
cookies on wax paper, steamed cotton, the fox fur stole in the downstairs closet—
nothing bad really except maybe the smell of old shoes. That’s where I unzip
the hanging plastic bag to touch the satin wedding dress, a coolness on my fingertips,
could never imagine her in it even when I stare at the black and white photograph.
A young princess, her smile fixed in a silver frame. Never that happy again. Then
I sway into what has not been but might be. Though I cannot read in darkness,
I try. Everything braille and blossom as I imagine could-be curves and craters.
I am always heading out of shadows. There is no history of words, only distant
lighted window-slivers toward what I want. Maybe what I need.
I am digging for a way out or a way in. If you put your ear close enough,
you’ll hear a crackle, a slight sizzle of the cake letting you know it’s done,
she never said. To listen and translate the language of cake, of hunger.
Sarah Dickenson Snyder lives in Vermont, carves in stone, and rides her bike. Travel opens her eyes. She has three poetry collections, The Human Contract (2017), Notes from a Nomad (nominated for the Massachusetts Book Awards 2018), and With a Polaroid Camera (2019) with Now These Three Remain forthcoming in 2023. Her poems have been nominated for Best of the Net and Pushcart Prizes. Recent work is in Rattle, Lily Poetry Review, and RHINO. sarahdickensonsnyder.com.