poem for Emily(written the week she died)

Loss fills the entryway of our house,

each box is emptier. It rained for twelve hours

the day after we buried the cat.


Summer has waned. The house

grows moss, tree-borne.


A sanding of sugar

on my daughter’s hands.

I almost tell her to taste.

Measure sweetness and count bites.


My hands don’t show

any sign of wear from the shovel.

The hole perfectly rectangular,

but not quite deep enough.


It has been 14 years

since I dug a grave to bury

instead of remove.


The body doesn’t forget.

Knowledge may winter,

but can be unearthed

with the correct movement or tools.


Perhaps my talent is not in words,

as I’d hoped, but in this shaping of earth.


My daughter watches my eyes and waits for signs of a return to normalcy.