Barrier Island
after a sudden loss
by George Bishop

I know the absence, the gravity
of everything unoccupied, missing
shapes that were shaped so much like
you, the permission to shift blame
seemed a given—forgiveness felt
close, close as it can come before
it can’t be trusted, believed only

by its maker. Each day an oar floats
by from the other side, fingerprints
pressed in the grain, and you know
someone’s circling somewhere
getting used to the idea of breathing
without taking a breath. The sand’s
open to every empty page, the urge

to write something drying on your
tongue—you want to describe
the bridge before it was became
unsafe, it’s wooden frame, single
lane and no weight limit. It’s hard
living when we have to leave
everything that healed behind.

George Bishop’s latest work appears in New Plains Review & Lunch Ticket. New work will be included in Naugatuck River Review and The Penwood Review. Bishop is the author of four chapbooks, most recently “Old Machinery” from Aldrich Publishing. His full length collection, “Expecting Delays” will be released by FutureCycle Press in 2013. He attended Rutgers University and now lives and writes in Kissimmee, Florida.