Virginia Smith Rice

Like a Default, Pre-programmed Absence

gone : that’s not a story : a train’s abrupt
blackout frames street-lit row
houses spray-painted &
and &, icy stairs slick with shadow :

still not a story : no, only thin-skinned
architecture peeled back as stories of story
scuttle out of sight : the tolerable
rumbles past again and again, rippling

endless cupsful of evening, while a dark
carriage waits and only grows colder : one
ground floor story pins someone in place,

another ravels undone, and nothing catches
the falling out of mind : no handrail
of the, no and, when you leave you are all


[like a default, pre-programmed absence] by Virginia Smith Rice was originally published by the Cimarron Review, Issue 188 / Summer 2014

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