“Still Life” (by Don Riggs)

Still Life

The poet at the desk, lit by a lamp,
surrounded by a dark study. Spines gleam
where the one incandescent bulb reaches,
the rest is in sharp-edged shadow. Elbows
rest on the flat wood, solid support
for shoulders stacked on top of infrastructure
of ribs, cathedral forever unlit
unless surgeons should be called upon

to probe the inner mechanisms the ghost
needs in working order to remain there.
Hands lie on the desk like an afterthought,
the page mostly blank, though there are scribblings
indecipherable to all, even
the one who wrote them, evidently, down.

This is a sneak peek at a poem that will appear in Don Riggs’s upcoming Texture volume, Bilateral Asymmetry. Used by permission of the author.

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