The Dirty Work of Plans

by RENEE SOTO

You mistook attic detritus for dead rodents, birds even, until a jab with the push broom dissembled each webby pile, until the flakes of corrugated boxes and cheap garbage bags agitated against you, even as you flailed. Threads, yarns, clock cases and parts, the heft of plans unburdened by decomposition wended through the fibers of your clothes, flecked your skin with the decades of someone else’s dirt and ambitions, mudded with your sweat. You stank. The feathers of a bird, finally, and then the skeleton of the bird stiff in its place on the shelf with the canning jars. Probably it sent up its high, thin buzz of panic, its own whirl of capture, whirl of release.

RENEE SOTO lives in Bristol, Rhode Island, where she teaches in the BFA program at Roger Williams University and is the editor of roger, an art & literary magazine. Her poems and reviews have appeared in journals including Crab Orchard Review, The Greensboro Review, Indiana Review, and Post Road.