On my white door frame, her name,
a date, December 10, 2001, a thin penciled line
marking her height, as if she were one of my children
It is winter again, and the ice hums,
cracks, heals over again.
The geese have flown again.
Only she is missing from this round robin rhythm.
I see her hand on my door frame
and know it is dead. Even her name is dead,
just as that date is dead letter news.
Really dead, not sleeping like my overgrown lilac
rattling in the stiff wind off the lake.
At the park, I look for her. The light
hits the hill she climbed coughing,
deep in her throat. Soon the air will dampen,
warm slightly, then snow will fall.
How I tried to explain that to her--
life long Floridian--
how it must warm up to snow.
By the lake, a figure of a tall loping woman--
her hand at her throat, holding
her coat against the wind, holding
on for dear life.
FIRE 22, p 143; Jesse Lee Kercheval