the empty lake, the static on the radio, the years
with missing handle bars—
the one that halfway fit him was the gloves.
He wore them all spring, then all summer, weeding
even by moonlight, relentless as a ghost,
as constant as the sky we ignore
'til geese fly south and give us a reason to look:
their sad, odd honking like the sound of our desire...
Of course, he was crazy;
all the couples on our street know that.
One morning we woke to the noise of him weeding
his house, uprooting the plumbing, uprooting
every lost night from their bed. Yanking
light bulbs. Yanking telephones. Miles of red wire.
And I almost admire his fierce logic,
though I know enough to keep it to myself:
Finally he reached in the mirror, pulled
hard, and disappeared.
"Of All the Gifts She Ever Gave Him—" was published in Rob Carney's 2015 collection 88 Maps (Lost Horse Press)
Rob Carney earned a BA in English from Pacific Lutheran University and an MFA in Creative Writing from Eastern Washington University, completing his PhD at the University of Louisiana-Lafayette. He is a two-time winner of the Utah Book Award for Poetry and the author of three previous books and three chapbooks of poems, including Story Problems and Weather Report from Somondoco Press. His work has appeared in Cave Wall, Mid-American Review, Poetry Northwest, Quarterly West, Redactions, River Styx, Sugar House Review, other journals, as well as Flash Fiction Forward (Norton 2006). In 2014 he received the Robinson Jeffers Tor House Prize for Poetry. He is a Professor of English at Utah Valley University.