{An Umbrella Special Feature}

Claudia Gary

writes, edits, and composes (tonally) in the Washington, D.C. area.

Her articles on veterans’ health and other subjects have appeared in magazines such as Vietnam, VFW, and The VVA Veteran.

Her first full-length poetry collection was Humor Me (David Robert Books, 2006). A second collection is in progress, along with her work as a licensee to the literary estate of the poet Richard Moore (1927-2009).

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What I Have Missed

Is it the outermost edge of a candle’s flame
where it’s safe to touch, in an ancient trick with wind
on the palm of your hand, skirting the waxy frame—

is that what I’ve missed? Or is it a teardrop’s covering,
the salt chemise that won’t stay put but opens
to an untold flood, with only a small thought hovering

of you? Or a frail nuance of the words last spoken,
a trail of echoed syllables undone
from the moment of their birth, their cipher broken?

But no, I possess all these. Yet I am kissed
by edges that sear, and melt, and signify
all that the word, the flood, and the flame have missed.


[Originally published in Medicinal Purposes and Humor Me (David Robert Books, 2006.]