Bio: Charles Rafferty has a new collection of prose poems forthcoming from BOA Editions in 2021 – A Cluster of Noisy Planets. His latest story collection is Somebody Who Knows Somebody (Gold Wake). His novel, Moscodelphia, is now out from Woodhall Press. Currently, he co-directs the MFA program at Albertus Magnus College and teaches at the Westport Writers’ Workshop.
My wife bought a giant conch shell once, which she placed on top of our bookcase. I can see only the points of it as I lie on the couch, being careful with my vodka. It is no different than being embalmed. We aspire towards permanence, and if we were a stain, we’d want to be the one that doesn’t come out, the one you’d have to cover with a baby grand. All the words on my bookshelf are a collective shout that, daily, I fail to hear. Only the giant ear of the conch is listening, as one by one the starlings empty out of the backyard cedar like a tablespoon of pepper set loose upon the wind.
I like the pattern of this carpet because no one can tell where I’ve spilled my wine, and I prefer this sandbar after a storm because the boot prints of others will have disappeared. There is a difference between camouflage and eradication, but not one that matters. Either way I’m missing. Either way the lawn is filling up with flowers no bigger than dimes.
There Was a Time When I Might Have Thrown Away This Sheet Music
I never learned to play but now it’s vintage, so we continue to let it yellow inside the piano bench doubling as a stand for spider plants, a store-bought conch. Neckties are another matter. Even funerals don’t insist. They are going the way of the bowler hat and the monocle. Some things you let go of, thinking they’re gone for good, but when I’m in the woods of my town, in the farthest reaches of it, the trash I’m most likely to come across is a Mylar balloon that a child set forth, believing it might visit the chalk mark of the moon.
A Song on the Radio
When you think of her now, she’s like a song on the radio you’ve heard too often. Time and again you keep on listening, believing you’re near the end.