A few months ago, near the end
of the summer, we stood chatting
over the fence, far in the back
by the old shed with the paint peeling
from the door, a hoe in your hand,
trowel in mine. You talked about
your only brother, I, my only
daughter. Your brother talked constantly
you said. I said my daughter couldn’t
talk at all. You said he never
recognized you, but then one day,
he did. I said she wasn’t conscious,
but then I placed my hand on her head
and she cried, and so did I.
His ashes speckle the Pacific;
she rests under a pine on a hill.
Today, in the garden, it was grey
and quiet. You raked the fallen
leaves, and I painted the shed door.
This poem appears in our Fall 2013 issue (Vol. 60.1).