Marianne Shaneen

The Peekaboo Theory

neighbors too intimately linked by accident of enclosure in
body of same building before dividing, genus, species, x or
y chromosome, on the envelope, first initial, last name,
apartment number

hallway narrowing each day by all of us touching same
banister and leaving behind increasing layers of

although recently fingerprints are being challenged as a
viable method of identification, a nosy neighbor enlists an
expert in dactyloscopy to lift the layers left behind; even
burns don't destroy a person's original fingerprint pattern:
banister as infallible sequential record of identities that
walked up and down the stairway that is always valid, with
one exception--if one has an injury that destroys a hand's
inner epidermis its prints will be permanently obliterated--

could that mean then, in a case where it's known that the
fingerprints of a person in question have been obliterated,
that the absence of their fingerprints could be used as
evidence for their presence?

I descend the stairs painfully aware that your double loops,
central loops, and whorls are becoming increasingly layered
over. perhaps the dactyloscopist could obtain for me your
prints from the last time you held the banister, before
their sudden disappearance in the record:

a fossil of a species becomes suddenly absent in an
archeological stratum of earth where it had been present in
the previous layer.