No, the wife of the missing man says,
she didn’t know he was going to Michigan.
He said he had business in Chicago.
He said he’d be gone till Wednesday,
that he’d call every evening.

Yes, she says, he called Monday but not Tuesday.
But, she says, sometimes he’s too busy.

No, she says, she has no idea why her husband
would leave his car running at a trailhead,
walk in the half-mile to a clearing,
and, except apparently for his shoes and socks,
remove all he was wearing. Perhaps, she says,
he carried a change of clothes.

Yes, she says, he’s as ingenious as they come.

No, she says, she doesn’t know what it means
that he would leave his wallet and cell in his slacks,
that he would leave his MP3 player, left on, attached to his belt.

Yes, she says, he’s hooked on Schubert lieder.
He likes to sing along, she says, in off-key German.

No, she says, she doubts he’s in some fix at work.
He likes his job, earns good money.
They both make good livings now.

Yes, she says, they’d been to Michigan once.
Before they married, she says. He was on leave.

No, she says, she’s not going to answer that.
If she were the problem, he would have left it to a lawyer.

Yes, she says, please monitor all their accounts.
Yes, she says, she’ll leave her cell and answering machine on.


William Aarnes has published two collections with Ninety-Six Press: Learning to Dance (1991) and Predicaments (2001). His work has appeared in such magazines as Poetry, The Seneca Review, and Red Savina Review. Recent poems have appeared in Main Street Rag, Shark Reef, and Empty Sink.

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