There was wallpaper, flowered, lilacs, thousands repeating and wet
from every shower. The toilet avocado
or dusty blue. Tiles and formica. May,
no, November. It was November and I
was thinking of you, or not thinking of you.
You died quickly or you died slowly.
You are still there. I am gone.
Dr. Karen worships resilience. Yesterday I was
a curlew, cinnamon bottomed, swallowing crabs,
an analogy, obviously, for this lump in my throat.
Today, I am shorn sheep, watching wool
scooped and stuffed in a sack. Dr. Karen says
regression, not shapeshifting from bird to sheep
to mourner to mother. She asks me to identify
the size of my emotions, but I hear shape
and imagine my devastation a trapezium,
an ugly rectangle, a bone in the wrist difficult
to fracture. I hear elastic, pliable, but I am water
carrying away bits of soil, bits of sand.
Walking the fence line, I see the water
line is now knee-high and another six
boards have blown or split with rot. My stomach
spills over my jeans as I bend to break
the collapsed wood free. What grows here?
Lichen and moss, then a wave of slaters
feasting, followed by ants, millipedes, more
softening of wood into dirt. One summer,
I watched lightning strike a tree heating
the water in her cells past boiling point.
She still stands, though stripped of bark, near this fence,
where now I lean listening to the creak
of my joints, of this fence post, of the sky.
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