CHAIN OF CUSTODY
Item Number EV-69-16 Case Number, CE-1896-16/SJS 64544:
Date, Time, Place of Recovery (12/29/16 @16:30 hours, Shaft 18 by boat launch),
Recovered By Det. Yesenia Jimenez. I must sign.
I must sign again after the Date, Time, Place of Receival,
From Locker 9 To Det. Crowley, Date (7/10/17).
An invoice, the sunglassed detective called it.
It came envelope tidy,
And in that, officially sealed,
the last baggy
to scissor open; but when done,
it breathes the aftermath of you,
One month under, to the day.
(What strange moss-made creature
might you have become
if you had stayed at the bottom?)
Orange dust pimples the wallet,
faintly sprinkling my hands, my lap, like fairy spice.
Awful anointing, odd sachet,
all day I wear the smell of your death.
Must on my hands, old mold sweet,
must on my hand, lips.
A year later, it’s I who stumble
alone on the frozen path.
The brook barely runs here,
limey yellow, caked in ice, sand, empty.
But your voice, what I came to catch,
those scraps that once blazed the trail, still clinging
to the flattened green ferns, frozen rosebuds,
spring relics from my following
the mumbo-jumbo you,
like some Sancho Panza, cajoling more windmill monologues,
just to keep you talking,
as one would brace a hanging limb
with pick-up sticks.
By this bridge, you raved
about Dorothy in Philly; someday soon, you’d show up on her doorstep
with your standing invitation and just start over.
By the next bend, it was a Benedictine monastery,
or the foreign legion.
Bemused, I’d coax, never correct, your jabber
for you couldn’t brook any differing;
And you did not suffer fools gladly.
Uphill now, you’d wax, “Yale: early decision or bust,”
grandiloquent about having your own digs at last,
no more group home babying, chuckling
how clever boy’s fooled all the shrinks…
Then you’d fret over how possibly to get a bus.
The apartment move would finish you in six months.
Once out of the marsh, you happily stammered hints
about your new girl, sure I’d like
that she had an old-fashioned poet’s name.
“Emily, Emily,” I finally guessed on the boardwalk.
A graduate of Vassar College, Sharon Kennedy-Nolle received an MFA from the Writers’ Workshop as well as a doctoral degree in nineteenth-century American literature from the University of Iowa. She also holds MAs from the Writing Seminars at Johns Hopkins University and New York University. In addition to scholarly publications, her poetry has appeared in many journals. Her chapbook, Black Wick: Selected Elegies was a semi-finalist for the 2018 Tupelo Snowbound Chapbook Contest. Chosen as the 2020 Chapbook Editor’s Pick by Variant Literature Press, Black Wick: Selected Elegies was published in 2021. Kennedy-Nolle was winner of the New Ohio Review’s 2021 creative writing contest. Her full-length manuscript, Black Wick: The Collected Elegies was chosen as a 2021 finalist for the Black Lawrence Press’s St. Lawrence Book Award and as a 2021 semifinalist for the University of Wisconsin Poetry Series’ Brittingham and Felix Pollak Prizes. Recently appointed the Poet Laureate of Sullivan County for 2022-2023, she lives and teaches in New York.