Persephone Hangs Insulation

insulationby Elizabeth Vignali


I cut the batts long, squish them between

beams, a friction fit unfaced by paper.


Lying in the crawlspace, the whole weight

of the house above me. Little lives moving

in the earth beneath my back.


A man-made mineral fiber spun hyacinth

pink, girlish and soft to the touch. Glass

and slag wool and sand ground so fine


you don’t notice the itch

at first, the burgeoning burn 

stealing the breath from your lungs.


I split another batt, rip from the bottom,

slide half behind and half on top

of the old copper pipes.


Insulation is only

as efficient as the installer.

The key is to fill the void completely.


The lives count down underground, seeds curled

in on themselves against winter’s coming breath.

I peel my gloves off and press one hand to the dirt,


the other to the prickling fiberglass. Cold and hot,

a rash of lives, palm pomegranate pink and seeded

with pinpricks of red light, blood rising to the surface.



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