One moment he’s pruning a wayward branch;
garden tools rest happily against
the brick like spoons in soup.
You wonder how it stayed this warm.
An ancient sun is baking leaves, raisins
in a rising dough of seasons on a schedule.
He edges grass the way he’s always
sculpted love — by doing things
in steady gestures like the rain.
A seizure, then a surgery.
Then solitaire so suddenly.
Feet aren’t there to track rich soil;
welcome mats have lost all words.

I bake two pies and take
two pieces down the street.
It’s a short walk and a long hill
up to the crown of thorns.
The first thick snow is blowing
blizzards of his death as if
some crazy heaven dropped a sack of flour
and all the meals I’m handing you
are just reminders of the cold.
I ring the bell, its tired fly
catches in the vivid freeze.

A single placemat at the bar
stares back at us as if
no cards but this exist.
Boots are empty lecture notes
reminding me that luck
is amputated by the hour.
His coat is hanging like a ghost
beside a hat that buckles
in our winded sighs.
A living room of Roman girth —
spotless but for photographs
you finger in the night’s abyss.

*First Published in Black Creek Review

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