Michaela Gabriel
lester lewis takes inventory after the shipwreck

her name was not ruthie. nor amanda. it might have started with a
painful consonant, sharp, bloody around the edges. lester lewis spreads
his fingers, inspects them like foreign territory. whatever the one-handed
goddess on the cabinet tries to tell him — he doesn't speak ancient female.

she sits upon a letter, a breadknife, a bad case of the jitters left over from
1985. he's sure dandelions played no part in what happened between night
and day; who knows why their heads are rolling from room to deserted room
now that the oysters are shutting themselves up inside fortified shells.

a calendar opens on page after blank page. lester lewis drops to his knees,
neatly wiping out a school of memories waiting to be conceived. pink sand,
an armadillo armour, a filigree ring arrange themselves as still life in the
corner. books accuse him with bold-lettered spines: making love to men

with unsexy names, learning to ignore his polka-dot ties, turning a blind
eye to bald spots.
the bin yawns; lester lewis turns away. a window shade
will not shut out the sun; he counts twelve leaks. in the kitchen, bread has
gone stale uninterrupted, liqueur has replaced wine. little glasses line

the counter — there is a message in this: years of hide and seek, traces
of deception, a loss. the clock stops, hopeful, but lester lewis does not
notice. he sits on the floor and counts: six drawers, three lip prints, nine
tearstains, one crossword: fifteen across — wife, estranged, four letters.