by Jon Riccio
It was the Burdiaks, Barb and Tom,
their living room’s ceramic cowboy
herding in a hat of clay.
Not to be confused with the Charvats,
more of my parents’ work acquaintances,
the Burdiaks—tinsel a skinned moon
on their blue Christmas tree, brass
cinching the photograph of a daughter
who wasn’t Maureen. Where was she?
I asked, forgetting the crushed car,
curiosity incurring an exit, my brother
zipping our jackets in the room of boots
and weights. Mrs. Burdiak: high-school
librarian, permed hair book-length,
due dates splintering a Toyota fed
to Amtrak grates. Years later a tie
cinches my head at Maureen’s wedding
as I broach a hooch “YMCA.” My brother
describes the Burdiaks’ condo: cowboy
on the coffee table, davenport declared
a loveseat. Mom runs into them at the
drycleaners with carriage logo, transportation
a nonnarrative between sweaters. Transposition
when they told me where their daughter was,
where anyone goes who outmantles;
ceramics in place of the present,
fire lasso for the deceased.
Jon Riccio is a PhD candidate at the University of Southern Mississippi’s Center for Writers. His work appears in print or online at Booth, The Cincinnati Review, Hawai’i Review, Permafrost, Switchback, and Waxwing, among others. A 2018 Lambda Poetry Fellow, he received his MFA from the University of Arizona.