The divine skull,
the thick skull, the skull of registry glass,
I mean regency crystal, of which I know little,
the thing with which I used to play that was my
grandmother’s, that was her ashtray, that wasn’t a thing
with which for me to play but for her ring, the skull a major
triad, the skull legato, the thin seminary drapes, the skull alone
in the cathedral, skull of my gold pen in its looped name, ascending
a flight of stairs, hear someone’s improv piano. It gets louder each floor
but it’s loudest right above you. Just through the ceiling one floor up. Keeping
you. You’d like to find the musician making home of some top stair. The staircase
has a warm, still smell of a children’s library. Whenever you can, come, no matter what day.
Lauren Hilger‘s debut poetry collection, Lady Be Good, is forthcoming from Civil Coping Mechanisms, 2016. Awarded the Nadya Aisenberg Fellowship from the MacDowell Colony, where she was a fellow in 2012 and 2014, her work has appeared in Gulf Coast, Harvard Review Online, Kenyon Review Online, Prelude, and elsewhere. She serves as a poetry editor for No Tokens Journal.
—Art by Helen Norcott