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.