Stealing Capote’s Ashes • Amy Pence

Plantain leaves splash the large dark around
                              your Truman Capote.
He’s 21, eyes hardly post-war—
                              seductive instead. A Modern—not
the Truman of those Alabama
                              summers when you met
under crape myrtles, palms
                              dirty with secrets, a childhood
scouting your interior life:
                              shouldered chinaberry tree, compass
under leaf-mold, petals from camellias
                              browning with scent, creasing them
across each other’s nipples. Mortal
                              wounds and the mortality
he pretended, fake-falling
                              into a fitful mosquito sleep.
In your future you’ll talk your Tru
                              down in the dark—skittery, speed-
laced. He rides shotgun into
                              the Hollywood Hills
cosseted by swans: Babe Paley, Lee Radziwill.
                              Until one day he’ll answer
from a death no longer pretense:
                              the unsugared Capote
the one who told off Frost,
                              got fired. Every few years, you steal
his urn and the ash of who he was
                              goes missing: form / formless,
wilding a wild beauty. You miss that t-shirt lonesome
                              replenishing like a sore.


Amy Pence authored the poetry collections Armor,
Amour (Ninebark Press, 2012) and The Decadent
Lovely (Main Street Rag, 2010). Her fiction appears
in Silk Road, Storyglossia, and Red Fez. She’s
published interviews, reviews, and non-fiction in
The Conversant, Colorado Review, The Writer’s
Chronicle, and Poets & Writers. In 2014, she
won the Claire Keyes Poetry Award from Soundings