Today you’ll work in the room behind the barn. For years there’s been a stain on the sheetrock where the rain drips in, and the place smells of rot, and when the other day you yanked off a chunk of sheetrock, thinking might be rotten wood in there, thinking you’d maybe have to replace a few studs, you found, in that damp place, everything rotten.
The Islamic Republic? George W. Bush? Both answers feel like evasions.
A woman laughs
and my daughter steps out of the radio.
Grief spreads in my throat like strep.
I’m the last sister standing — but tonight I mean to lie down, to practice being in the box
I was sure that I had failed my mother, unable to keep her in her home, as I had once promised.
Giuseppe, a simple shoe-maker,
who never learned English, stood
banging his head against the wall,
cursing God in his native tongue
Look at me, writing circles around what I must face:
The man I love is dead.
Between this and that, my wife, my dear little cowslip,
was misdiagnosed with heart failure and everything I loved
lost its pigment. The old reds weren’t red anymore,
the rose bushes on the path by the river had lost their pink