by Rikki Santer

Drop me off somewhere in suburban Ohio
where nostalgia conjures me with a topaz
wand and I am still waiting. Not hometown,
call it tabernacle where a front yard cloak
of dogwood blossoms stands in for the whole,
where tame childhood in peach gingham thrills
when concrete mixer truck in striped churn
rattles past the playground, when glint of Girl
Scout compass nestles in Mill Creek silt. Yet on
bedroom wall a doe-eyed Keane reminds
that timidity is a false-bottomed boat. Black Leather
Jacket grinds his body into mine in a tufted field
behind the school. Terrier’s neck snaps broken
in a neighbor’s backyard. Suicide note on dresser,
feet sway like the tongue of a bell. Memory blows
on ashes to scatter them—give & take.

IMAGE: The Waiting Room by Nieves Mingueza.

Rikki Santer

Rikki Santer’s poetry has received many honors, including five Pushcart and three Ohioana book award nominations as well as a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Her next, full-length collection, How to Board a Moving Ship, is forthcoming from Lily Poetry Review Books. Find more at her website,  rikkisanter.com.