We must have gone down to the pond

a last time. It must have been

July. There must have been gnats

busying the air. We must have gone carefully

and said few words. The wind

tousled the broad magnolia leaves.

When we managed to get home again

you must have napped. I must have

roamed the house, opening one cabinet,

closing another. I must have sat

in the wooden chair that was always yours,

propped my knee on the table edge, which you

wouldn’t have liked, started the crossword

in pen, skipped the headlines. I must have

rearranged the amber bottles of medicine.

I must have wondered what to make

for dinner, pulled forks out from the drawer,

given you a spoon. I must have brushed

the rice off your sleeve. I must have repacked

the suitcase and traveled home, keeping

the suitcase in easy reach. You died

on mismatched sheets my sisters and I slept on

as children: strawberries from one, rainbows

from another. And then we were done counting.

Ann Hudson is the author of The Armillary Sphere (Ohio University Press) and Glow (Next Page Press), a chapbook on radium. Her poems have appeared in Cider Press Review, Orion, Crab Orchard Review, Colorado Review, North American Review, Spoon River Poetry Review, SWWIM, and elsewhere. She is a senior editor for Rhino.