A History of Disappearances:

Motion Towards Equilibrium in an Unbalanceable System

This is the hardest of them to tell:
the photo of you through the bedroom window
found in a stolen car, that window,
broken from the outside the night you vanished
into the chaos of your mother's disrepair,
into the unspoken but felt middle world
that spiders between our own lives like capillaries—
not one of ghosts or graves but of real people
picked up and separated from their memories
and set vaguely into somebody else's place
who's been taken as well and who also left a void
in the machineries of linear time
in a different city, say, Tuscon
where you become not quite replacement
but someone altogether new,
unstrung from histories and who appears
quietly and unexceptionally
in a park, feeding birds
between passersby who have missed someone
and have, themselves, begun to fade. You enter
their lives and though they don't quite notice it,
a pressure lifts and they hear the faint ringing,
the mechanics of the universe repaired
slipping slowly back into motion,
as if something simple like a dishwasher
or a fan or an engine has clicked, finally, off.

                                                          Jimmy Bullis