“Market Day” by Erinn Batykefer

I must believe not to move is to be more easily found.

At the vintage junk-trader’s stall, I pulled
a ribbed Fire King bowl from the bowl it nested in

and the ringing did not stop.
The market turned a maze of buzzing edges,
the flower stall’s nasturtiums jerking on their stems,
the bowl’s opalescent sheen in the air, seizure-white.
I must kneel at the door with hairpins and toothpicks, dig
the ghost fennel from the keyhole.
I carried the ringing bowl through the stalls—
husk cherries and small split plums; raw sugar and salvia,
summer squash, but never again nasturtiums—
its empty mouth a strobe-drone, leaping like halogen.
I must inscribe a circle in the dirt: market, river hills;
I must sweep the St. John’s wort from the linens.
Years I lived with a shadow stepping into my footprints—
going home took a long time, every alleyway echoing

come haunt me again.

Erinn Batykefer earned her MFA from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and is the author of Allegheny, Monongahela (Red Hen Press) and The Artist’s Library: A Field Guide (Coffee House Press). Her work has appeared recently in Blackbird, Lockjaw Magazine, Cincinnati Review, and FIELD, among others. She works as a librarian in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

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