“A Gotthelf Reader,” oil on canvas, by Albert Anker, 1884.

by B. Fulton Jennes

My neighbor, a widower, vows
that his house will be
so death-cleaned on his demise

that his daughter’s only worry
will be to return the library book
laid to rest on his nightstand.

No, my dear sir, no:
you will call to her from
the charged chattel that remains.

Anguished, your heiress
will climb the threadbare stair,
touching a finger to

each frayed fiber,
searching for the weight
and friction of your foot there;

she will lie on your bed,
urgent to absorb the last calorie
of your warmth, will sniff deeply

of the book’s cover, her nose
a forensic tool, tasked to sweep
your marooned cells into her being;

she will open to the bookmarked page
to read and reread the lines where
your eyes last lingered,

imagining that she is the ink
that whispered you to sleep,
glyphs of a gentle going.

“Glyphs of a Gentle Going” originally appeared in Connecticut River Review.

B. Fulton Jennes is Poet Laureate of Ridgefield, CT, USA, where she serves as poet-in-residence at The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum. Her poems have appeared in The Comstock Review, Tupelo Quarterly, The Night Heron Barks, Limp Wrist, Anti-Heroin Chic, and many other journals and anthologies. Her chapbook Blinded Birds was published in March 2022 by Finishing Line Press.