I whisper her name aloud —
you tug at a chair to gather your coat,
pet the dog and say goodbye
before a question
kicks you in the tender groin.
Your eyelids curtsy once and clench —
a mirror of the coffin’s hinge.
I’d like to follow roads you take,
through briars of the fruitless vines,
down sharp, dry cliffs
that crumble at the slightest wind.
Our silence is my orphanage,
but you don’t know the windows
you have blocked from light.

Hand me just a sweater’s sleeve,
some syntax, context, anything
that spells the way she made the bed
into a novel packed with lust
and happiness now cherry pits.
Her memory is snow in summer,
smelly oil on concrete floors
of some garage I sense is cold.
Nearly fifty years have passed.
Sores should own a scar or two,
but closure is impossible
without exposure to the air.

I’d like to follow roads you take,
even if this island has no sustenance
and storms direct the weather vanes.
Death might have been a melody
we rode until the song came back.
I step on leaves around her grave,
hear the crunch of missing heels,
stay the hungry hummingbird,
who cannot find the center
of a rose removed —
wings on fire for searching
through the muted spring.

*First Published in Epiphany

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