My friends are dead who were
the arches the pillars of my life
the structural relief when
the world gave none.
My friends who knew me as I knew them
their bodies folded into the ground or burnt to ash.
If I got on my knees
might I lift my life as a turtle carries her home?
Who if I cried out would hear me?
My friends—with whom I might have spoken of this—are gone.
Copyright © 2022 by Marie Howe. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on February 22, 2022, by the Academy of American Poets.