The Past Comes with Her, to Tomorrow
by Amy D'Amico

She belongs here, where she won't blow away.
She has plenty of common sense, and not a thing except silence
In the people-pleasing department.
In Orleans County, you can burn a controlled brush fire

And not need to stand by it for the whole day;
You can be sensible and fearless of the black fat smoke
Heating the air in the low part of the sky, because you and everyone
Here, besides the teenagers cutting up

Who will put a cake or a roman candle on top of a bonfire,
Knows what they are doing.
She fits in here where the winter wheat
Hems the property and the geese honk

In melancholic offbeat. But I'm out of town, so
We're not walking
Down an old gray road in western NY
With no yellow line down the middle,

So from here I can't tell
If she is smiling or wincing
Or if it's just Verizon. We aren't sitting in a booth
In a truck stop we still call The 76, drinking new burned coffee

In thick, off-white mugs
Ordering Texas toast that grows cold
Over four hours of conversation
While I envy her ankle-long blue sweater.

Today I'm not there watching while she hangs the wallpaper
For her niece in the dollhouse;
When she steps outside to smoke on the steps,
I can't see her stretch forward

To look through the pine trees, listening, with her motionless back;
Can't tell when her eyes follow the headlights
Of the few cars that go by. Her mom
Recently on her second bout with breast cancer, asks her

To get her a bowl of ice cream.
She whispers, and closes her phone.
She gets the bowl of ice cream. And waits by the window
While the stars come out, buried behind the kitchen's light.

Return to complete issue »

comments powered by Disqus