"Why?" she asked,
holding a headless sparrow
that the grackles had killed.
The sun was out,
but could as easily not have been.
I could have been someplace else.
She could have never been born.
Here, it is like
stepping off of the unfurled tongue of a devil.
For hell, it's cold.
People work here, collect checks like anybody else.
Once, she was spinning.
I caught her in my arms.
It could have been someone else,
but that day, the sun was out.
That day, the sparrows were thick around the backyard feeder.
At a certain age, she started locking
her bedroom door. There I'd stand, blind in the hallway,
holding laundry warm from the dryer against my arms.
Here, they let you look, their faces a question.
His eye is on the sparrow, so they say.
I was someplace else, collecting a check like anybody would.
I came rushing through the front doors,
from a window to a hallway to an elevator, one level down.
Someone caught her in their arms.
Now she's here, oh Jesus.
Oh God oh sweet Jesus, yes that's her.
My knees buckled, the floor came up. It could as easily have been someone else.
"Give her some water," someone said.
"Is her husband on his way?"
Oh oh oh oh no no no no.
Every day of her life has run through
every day of mine. Once, she was spinning,
dancing to some song in the living room.
She was smiling. Her arms might have been wings.
For the Real Toads mini-challenge. Write about a building. I wrote about a morgue.