Sunday, March 5, 2006

March 5, 2006: The Lost One

The Lost One

comes back to her
in the month of his thirty-eighth
birthday, sometime in April
when the tiny white crosses
of the dogwoods glowed
ghost-like at dusk
and she felt him coming
too early
for more than a minute's worth
of breath and a sprinkling
of holy water, his name. Gasp
of the nun, sign of the cross. Empty
handed she had returned

to her kitchen, rubbed
the windows clean of streaks
to better watch her three boys outside
who never thought to ask
where or why
or even to notice the swell
of her belly
gone back to ribs

and now he would be years older
than she was then, a sweet balding man
who, whistling, comes
through the front door with a kiss
on the cheek and a single daffodil.

--Sarah Cummins Small. For my mother.

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