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).

Sandra Irwin holds an A. B. in English from Vassar College, a J.D. from the University of San Diego, and is a 2009 graduate of the Master of Professional Writing Program at the University of Southern California, where she received a full teaching fellowship. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in SPECS, The Cold Mountain Review, Anderbo, Forge Journal, Shot Glass Journal, The Summerset Review, and numerous other literary magazines. Her poem Loss was nominated for the 2014 Pushcart Prize.