Our Daughter Does Not Leave Us in Our Hours of Need

In the months after our daughter’s death
we heard her wandering the house, more present
than she had been since before the high school
estrangement and our becoming toxic waste—
not ghost exactly, but echo in noisy hollow,
less shout, more whisper than when she last lived
with us under our roof. She was, we swore,
the sound of the fridge sighing its closing
or dropping ice cubes in the dark. She was
the rustling of small feet in attic crawl space,
the scratch scratch of something furred making a nest,
the sudden thud of a door blowing closed,
the exasperated gasp of a stack
of books and papers giving in to gravity,
a fall, a collapse, a resignation.
We each heard her separately, muffled tears
at the far end of the house or clothing
from hangers slipping, settling, subsiding
in the closed closet of her old room,
the sound of a sleeping person’s breath.