THE RECOVERY OF IMAGINARY FRIENDS

The guidebook of holy places lacks directions because
the places are holy, and when disturbed they move
somewhere else anyway. Still, consider the disturbing bison
on the cave wall, the reassuring handprint on the ceiling.
“We’ll never know why the masks face inward,” said
the tourguide, “but the people who made them know.”
When the writer described her daughter’s invisible friend
I remembered my mother going on about Giffy
my own lost companion, who did everything I shouldn’t have.
All I know of him is what my mother tells the whole table
every other Christmas or so. Is it best to mourn
our imaginary friends or be glad to be shut of them?
I believe in holy places, both fixed and mobile,
and I believe in the lazy line of the Navajo rug.
I believe in Giffy though he hasn’t spoken to me since 1955.
I want the charismatic macrofauna to thrive
and the coral and honeybees too. I want to bless
the unmedicated and the millionaire developers and to clean
the lead, mercury and flame retardants from everybody’s blood.
I want to know what Giffy’s been up to, if he’s happy,
stoned, depressed, working the night shift, solitary, gay,
pious, making cold calls or walking free and sweet through
some high canyon like the loose thread in a Navajo rug.


Jeff Gundy
JEFF GUNDY's fourth book of poems, Deerflies (2004) won the Editions Prize and the Nancy Dasher Award from the College English Association of Ohio. His latest prose book is Walker in the Fog: On Mennonite Writing (Cascadia, 2005). Other recent work is out or forthcoming in Shenandoah, North American Review, The Sun, Spoon River Poetry Review, Christian Century, and Georgia Review. He also taught last summer at the Antioch Writers’ Workshop and the Language of Nature Institute, and serves as General Editor for the AWP Intro Awards.
The Adirondack Review
The St. Lawrence Book Award
The St. Lawrence Book Award
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The St. Lawrence Book Award