Pompeii
Julia Wendell

Pompeii

                                             Notice
the careful architecture on his side
of the bed: pillows stacked horizontally,
the ones in front in taller columns,
a hand towel shading the reading lamp,
casting dampered light
on his absence.

On her side, jumbled linens,
errant silver dog hairs,
a throw piled in the center
of their catawampus raft,
as if to separate his loot from hers.

A keeling vessel they’ve shimmed
with the thinnest of chapbooks,
tossed sweaters and tights
smelling of yesterday,
half-spent ampoules of water,
bite guard, body butter,
an alarm clock flashing noon:
everything left
too long on display,
like Christmas lights in March,

as if they’d already disappeared—
a head-on crash, a kick
from a startled horse, a simultaneous
fatal slip in the shower.

Julia Wendell

is the author of the poetry collection Take This Spoon (Main Street Rag) and is currently finishing a sequel to her memoir, Finding My Distance (Galileo Press), due out in 2018. She is temporarily residing in South Carolina with her husband, the poet and essayist Barrett Warner; her five horses; two Labs; and a barn cat, Marnie.