There were enough leaves around my feet
to bury a child.
A second moon had been predicted,
but looking up through branches,
I saw only bones
pricking through the floor of a nest—
their existence a sign
of nothing. When you left,
I searched your half-empty drawers, discovered
you were erratic as the sky.
Still, I wrapped my neck in your barbs
of pearl and lace, climbed the fort’s ladder
to hold it down alone. I was barefoot.
The walls were eggshell.
Bottles of shampoo stiffened on the tub’s rim,
lawn chairs rusted in gravel.
The boys had left
guns in the closets. They would be back
soon for sandwiches. In the living room,
the buck’s head collected dust.
I waited, washing dishes in water I couldn’t see through
until only air sputtered from the faucet, cold
as a memory of your voice or wind
creaking in the boughs and then
the first snow falls. All winter, mice take solace
in the woodshed, eat the poison.
The boys stop to eat and leave.
Through the kitchen window,
I watch the owl collapse
like a white log from the oak branch.
I empty the fridge of pickles and ketchup
and leave the door open for the light—