Mystery Speaks ~ poetry by Jessica Purdy

I’m just out of reach, on the periphery,
a shaking branch, a darting shape
like someone touching your right elbow
from behind in a crowd. You turn to see
who it was but I’m gone. On the subway,
I’ve kept alive a daffodil wrapped
in damp paper towel and tinfoil. Maybe
you’ve seen my tan suede boots, the way
they make you think of the soft spring
calf and her mother. Could be my yellow
dress that stuns you, makes you lose
your train of thought. The engine of my
heart hidden deep underground.
The tunnel and its track and us
lumbering along sometimes for years,
and you’re searching for clues. The veins
in my hands, the fingers that clench
the scrunched foil, the papery skin
of the flower, the green stem. How I
sway with the subway’s rumble,
stumble, and clutch the handlebar
to steady myself. You’ve put out ads
in missed connections to find me, papered
telephone poles and the cork boards
of coffee houses with my last known
whereabouts. Consulted psychics. Kept
notes on every voice message. Hung string
to show the interconnecting points
of knowledge. Your shoes have grown
thin against the pavement. The daffodils
have gone into hiding. After all
this time, you still remember me.
How you loved the way my boots fit my feet
so much that you never saw my face.

Jessica Purdy holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Emerson College. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in many journals including Menacing Hedge, The Night Heron Barks, Radar, One Art, Hole in the Head Review, and SurVision. Her books STARLAND and Sleep in a Strange House were both released by Nixes Mate in 2017 and 2018. Sleep in a Strange House was a finalist for the NH Literary Award for poetry. She is poetry editor for the anthology, Ten Piscataqua Writers. Follow her on Twitter @JessicaPurdy123 and her website:

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