Our last year together began with the wettest July on record.
I trailed you in our woods with a bucket
of house paint. And blazed while you lopped.
And saw it all wash off
in long streaks by noon.
It was the season of damp heat which warped the floor boards.
And of swarming mosquitos. How we swore
to do something about that half-dug pond.
Then fall came with rain
and rain and we had to admit we needed gutters.
Between bouts of downpours
I gathered leaves for the compost,
while you tried to lay a bridge across the river.
And it began to seem our house was a boat
in a great flowing swamp.
And we in it, rowing—
—I have been thinking:
What was it that we forgot to do?
Was it the clumsy way I ran to you–
who I loved most, with almost
my whole heart?
Maybe it was all my worry-loving,
All three heavy generations of it.
Maybe ten. At least two.
Now another summer has come, a dry one
this time, and I’m eating potatoes wrapped in tinfoil
tossed into the campfire.
The girls are bonding
in the California heat–
talking about fruit.
The thing about persimmons, says Emma,
is you can’t eat them even a minute too soon.
A persimmon patience, I think,
and I write this down.
I’m disappointed to note that you are still everywhere.
Even way out here. But isn’t it just
grief doing its work now? Making
Hoshigaki. White fingers touching everything,
kneading the whole fruit of our life together—
which in its slow drying
is expelling granules of sugar?
Meanwhile the late August wind is
running its cool hand through the trees
and taking first fistfuls of leaves
again. Each leaf a thing
we had built—
kept on building—even so near
to the end you bought me flowers,
put on that sweet smile to tell me we’d
come through another winter.
And soon, daffodils
will come blazing up out of that dead earth,
to make sense of it all. Any day now.