My aunts and brothers –
silent, while cicadas make
a horrible racket,
almost drowning out
Reverend Hockett’s words.
Was their rasp
so dreadful
when something in that creek
pulled Ray in,
pulled him deep?

A long before,
an unbearable now.
Nothing I can say to Andy
makes everything better.
Nothing I can tell myself
changes any thing at all.

Every bottle, every flask
I could find,
emptied down the sink
and tossed out.
No more spirits
in my house!
But such gestures
don’t bring back
a lost father.

∞ ∞

I dream we awake
into winter.
Snow covers the furniture,
the windows frosted over,
icicles glitter in the kitchen.
Cold’s come early
to steal midsummer.
The leaves turned from green
to gold to brown
and dropped off as we slept.

A confusion of snow angels
crowd the scuffed floor.
I strike a match
to light the stove,
but the temperature’s
dropping too fast.
Andy shivers
as if no fire
will ever warm him

∞ ∞

It’s been a week and a day,
and three hours.
Andy and I return
to the cemetery.
We’re alone-
no one died

Cicadas buzz in the locust trees.
The wind, slight as it is,
ruffles the foxgloves.
I stroke Andy’s hair
as we kneel by the small mound
of red earth.
I remember Ray’s touch
on my own hair
before we were married,
before …

A shadow blocks the sun.
Andy cries out –
we look up,
somehow expecting Ray.
Only crows.


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