Déjà Vu

By Edward Butscher

There came unto me
that turned a tenderer voice for me.
—Thomas Hardy


 Messages from the dead,

who clutter our closets

and sly bedroom corners

with whispers of dust,

are more cryptic than

the marble mausoleums

and plebian stone stiles

that mob Queens’ green

hillsides like a grey army

of raised shields, besieging

Manhattan’s bugle towers.


Or so I must believe,

their voices a chorus

around a moon-remote

woman when I lie down

for my afternoon nap

just before twilight wrings

me anxious, gelid Lucy

beneath me in her fluid

Hëloise guise, lips at work

on a pillow earlobe.


No wife calls from the grave

beyond the garden gate

nor boy (after escaping

mass) from a used-car lot’s

unlocked Chrysler, where black

gospel songs rock its frame

to truant brothers’ glee.

No baby sister sighs

over an unlived life, her

small blood sign scraped raw

by a languid ceiling fan.


Face down in defeat and

faux “noontide” desire,

I climax a stifled groan

that rumbles through an old

house to startle awake

a shelter kitten, she

alone sensing who walks

and is mourned here.


Poet, critic, and literary biographer, Edward Butscher resides with his wife, Paula Trachtman, in Greenport, Long Island. His poetry and essays have appeared in numerous journals and anthologies since 1976. Collections of his poetry include Poems About SilenceAmagansett Cycle, and Child in the House. His biography Sylvia Path: Method and Madness, was the first of that poet, and Conrad Aiken: Poet of White Horse Vale won the Melville Kane Award from the Poetry Society of America.

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