News of the Missing Girl

by Jessica Purdy

An image recurs: a yellow leaf
everyone thought would land
is condemned midfall
to the purgatory of a spider’s web.

Palimpsest upon which the story’s written.
Ink erased, inked, reerased
until holes rub through
like the jeans of illused girls.

Deleted names of girls
mothers have pained into this world,
girls singled out daily
by some mad god’s eye
cracking comfort
like the thinnest ice.

Even the dunnest sparrow
can be stalked as she moves
through browned marsh grass
the tips shiver with minute explorations
until she’s gone and everything
left behind is still here
keeping the vigil of revision.
Consider this kind of loss.