Empty chairs fill. Porch lights
come on again. Leaves gust along streets,
a child gets up after bloodying her knees.
Mushrooms cluster like villages and the rain
when it falls is warm. The gray headstone
hidden by the hackberry grove accepts
flowers from an old woman who limps and
leans heavy forward. Her silence as she kneels
ripples out, settling in every crack of the earth.
She lays amid leaves and is still. The trees whisper
their benedictions. Far away, the old woman's daughter
answers yes. The stray cat is fed for a night.
That man, drunk again, is helped home by the son
with every reason to resent. The chapel doors
remain unlocked. Rivers rise. Mulberries fall
ripe from the branch and feed birds flocking south.
The sick man dreams in musical notes while his wife
hums beside him. Morning arrives despite night's ravages.
The world through its groaning returns to summer
and, thinking of you, I linger.