Rebecca Dunham is the author of three collections of poetry, Glass Armonica, The Flight Cage, and The Miniature Room. She has received an NEA fellowship and was a Jay C. and Ruth Halls Fellow with the Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing. Her poems have appeared in The Southern Review, Kenyon Review, FIELD, Colorado Review, AGNI, and others. She is an associate professor of creative writing at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee.
after the novel by Daphne du Maurier
Counter the clock: let its hands whir hot as a circular saw. The dead do return
to stalk their familiar halls—scent of crushed azalea, lipsticked cloth fished
from a mackintosh pocket. Fast and blue, I pour cyclonic, the kind of
knowledge a husband would keep for himself: pleasures of the flesh, peat-
smoked whiskey's steady burn, and the certainty one will win in the end. It is
worth it—bullet to the heart, spike-drilled hull, the sea cocks left open and
rushing. Remember: Rebecca did this, as I am doing, and put the lily to the
vase's open mouth, not the first to do it.