The summer you learned to let everything go
was the summer I learned how to coax my body through a day,
how to strap it onto roller blades and glide ten miles
with a despondent son.
How to pull that body
through a landscape.
How to perform the simple, impossible tasks
of dinner at a small table, of saying the same things
over and over. How to quietly watch that teenaged son
walk through a new town with kids I
was unsure of.
The summer you stepped out of this life
was the summer I learned
about small gestures and beautiful weeds.
Running through fields
and carrying back Yarrow and Queen Anne’s lace.
It was time to take a large
and fit it somehow
into a much smaller one.
Downstairs the neighbor’s new baby was crying.
A woman across the street brought cookies
on a china plate. In the backyard
the mulberry tree was wild with starlings.
Someone in a house behind me
began playing the harp in the evenings.
I would sit on the back steps and listen, thinking about
the heart of whoever it was, playing like that.
What it must know
to play like that.
From Indiana Review