Consolation Gifts


A miniature glass mouse, for example. On a glass shelf in a cottage in the forest.
Behind the echo of the woodcutter’s axe.

Or his wife’s greeting welcoming him home, high-pitched and delicate, a porcelain
cage in which to keep the end of his day.

Or the bright thrill of a covey of quail rising startled from the tall grass, floating
down the hillside below the lighthouse where the murder occurred.

The air inside the hidden chamber growing damp and close as if in the ruins of a
grand cathedral we had stepped before the door to an underground cavern. (Constance
was no longer the same person after losing the child.) Later that same day, a policeman
chasing a piglet down the sidewalk and under a cart of candied apples.

Each new night’s crimes uncertain, dissimilar, every alibi alive with its own

Teeth in the water-glass on the nightstand.

The bed empty.

Or the moon’s footprints.

Or a row of small mammal skulls lined up neatly on a tenderness of black velvet by
the neighbor’s quietly drowning son.

Rich Ives is the author of Tunneling to the Moon: A Psychological Gardener’s Book of Days currently being published in serial @ Silenced Press everyday in 2014 and forthcoming in paperback. Begin from the beginning, catch up, read daily. Just refer to the Burrow Guide.