by Kirstin Fierro

When you lived the sky was pink and swelling,
drenched with the promise of tomorrow. Clouds
wrung out and pine needles fell in clusters,
shading ground from sun luster. Your bright light.

I tucked you in on the back patio
on a lay down lawn chair. You stayed out
under waffle knits and stiff wool sheets
until the sky melted down. Transfixed,

breathing deep, you lingered in the backyard
seeing what I could not. Saying,
The river runs deep past those pines.
There are things greater than us out there.

You sipped cranberry juice. Crushed morsels of ice.
A crossword book planted in your lap
as you tracked slight drops in temperature,
deciphering the highs and lows of the day,

misreading the thermometer on the stucco wall.
It’s cold for late April—but still you waited,

fading. Just before the riverbank
a garden thickened slowly with sprouts
neglected by your withering hands. I remember
when you’d wake up at dawn to pry weeds

from crevices, healthy ones with steady heartbeats.
In the twilight, you gathered intruders
with wiry stalks, their roots dangling
from a clenched fist. Green buckets brimmed

before your seven to five. Laying bricks. Rows
of crops dredged by walker wheels.
They told you to delegate
from behind the sliding glass. I snuck you out.

In February, I look for you beyond the pines.

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