Clouds gather, darken,
The car battery is dead,
Rhubarb in the alley is ready-
Red, a dog barks and barks
And barks and barks—the silence after
Turns into birdsong as the sun
Burns out from behind the clouds.
Venison chili warms on the stove,
A door slams, locks—nobody knows
The loneliness she owned.
A car-horn-alarm pulses its honk
On this sunny afternoon,
And no one thinks anything
Other than it’s a mistake, too late
For instructions, paying attention
To the signs. The power is out
And it’s broad daylight.
Broken branches, spruce cones,
Hollow bones litter the lawn.
If he called now, she’d answer
In that same, flat, detached tone
He’d grown accustomed to
Cheering up too many times
With sarcastic wit or sincere lies . . .
Tidbits that now smell of cigarettes
And exhaust. A beer can rattles
Down the stairs, it’s cloudy again,
And the garage lights indicate
The electricity is back on.
He considers the chili, stirring the pot,
And although he’s not hungry,
She’d have wanted him to eat it . . .
Thinking he owed that much to the deer.