J and J

Right now she sits in the hot, still air of the front room.

The clock behind her is faster than her heartbeat, but it goes too slow.

She is silent and has sunken into the chair like one of its pillows; had she not been wearing white, he would have searched more to find her there.

That morning, he pulled the oversized shirt for its color and tried it over her hanging arms and midsection; his fingers touched the place where their children grew.

Then with his thick, curled fingers he grabbed her stockinged feet thinking that when you’re old, love is one of those things that doesn’t get bigger no matter how often it’s watered.

You’ve already given each other everything, somehow–left it all on the arena floor like when he was riding broncs in the rodeo.

When he hit the dirt it didn’t matter.

Just last week, someone listed their house in the mountains–the one in the basin of sunlight where all of the life happened. Their only home.

The door she painted red was pretty, and now there are yellow finches and a family of starlings nesting into its frame.

There are cobwebs there too, but they are host to full-bellied orb weavers:

in the same wind she use to face and let her hair whip back behind her, the cobwebs’ corners detach and swing an intricate silken weave of their history.

And the driveway–no longer lined with her carefully selected annuals is taken over by milkweed and crabgrass and wildflowers.

There are snakes who fill those grasses now, and there are bees just above them, intent on replacing life with life.

He knows she wants to join them there in that wild dirt,

where she will bring his steady love with her, so soon.

But until then, the clock advances behind her,

and he holds tight to her stockinged feet.




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