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Singleton

by: James Cihlar

An orphan from Canada, she can live, like me, only where the sky
is always gray, and the leaves hang windless in the yard.
The angled walls of her tiny rooms segment her flat into spaces

impossible for three people to fit, and yet there is always
something to do, business, the producer calls it:
feed the fish, pet the cat, peel potatoes, pour a cup of tea,

without missing a beat of dialogue. Gobsmacked on the hearth,
she lost her memory. A husband, an auntie, her name—
gone in one fell swoop. On charges, she was the talk of London.

She testified before the magistrates in powdered wigs.
A year in prison means nothing to her. Amnesia is something
we all can get behind, and love the woman convicted of sin.

Dilly intones pointedly, Amnesia is not a type of madness.
In pencil skirt and heels, Singleton runs like a schoolgirl
atop the stacked stone wall. She has made the leap from woman

to image of woman. She swings around the apple tree
like Eve around a maypole. She quotes the Bible to the Bishop
until he pronounces her sound of mind. This is how she escapes shame.

There is a fine line between annoyance and attraction.
How good to be a chimera, dancing on Joseph Cotton’s feet,
in time to the music box, the porcelain figurines writ large

from outside the master suite by the lovers’ silhouettes.
Her eyes are wild, her head jerks spastically, she is half a woman only,
with everything to learn all over. Singleton, Singleton, Singleton,

you prove it is possible to forget the past entirely. Like you,
I choose to lose my memory. What I can’t remember I can’t forget,
and what I can’t forget I can’t remember.