That Fall, the Things that Died

  • Your neighbor’s daughter Sarah,
    a girl you remember riding passenger side in boyfriends’ black cars, fingertips
    wind-dragging out the open window, how they would curl and twist when she saw
    you and your daughter, and you didn’t know for sure, but every time you waved
    back
  • The small brown bugs that you
    find dotting your bathroom sink every morning for three weeks, your daughter
    seeing them first, poor little bugs,
    crying the way children do, and now wipe them away first thing in wads of toilet
    paper, the freckle of their small bodies in your hand
  • The wild rabbit in the street
    that you and your daughter saw from the car window, poor little bunny, she said, and poor little bunny you agreed, and by evening, it was torn piece of
    fur, road stain, gone with the first rain
  • The back-yard house sparrow,
    talon-clutched by hunting hawk
  • Your car, and you drove your
    father’s old pickup for three days, rumbling with disrepair, your daughter
    looking out the window, singing over and over again here we go round the mulberry bush
  • A distant cousin of your
    mother’s, and your mother called and said remember
    and remember, and you said, yes, yes, though it was mostly a lie
  • A character on a television
    show that you had liked, and your daughter asked mama, why are you crying, and you couldn’t really explain because they
    weren’t real, it wasn’t even real
  • The praying mantis from summer
    that you’d found perched on the fence between houses, body leaf-curled on the
    back step that you swept away with a broom, that you couldn’t touch bare
  • The power on a cloud-heavy
    night, and you and your daughter looked out into the dark together and it was
    black, black, all black, except at your neighbor’s house, where they had strung
    blue battery-operated lights along the fence, for Sarah, they said, and they were there and they were shining,
    and you and your daughter, that night, sat at the window and watched, watched,
    watched.