Before I go, I have something to say


Here to see our daughter,
five-year-old Amy knocked on the door.
Midnight frost hovered

in the night air, about to settle like dust
on the prairie’s broken wheat stems
and her bare arms. In her white

undershirt and panties, she’d tapped
so quietly we almost didn’t hear that
small leaf scudding against the door.

Had my husband still been shouting at me,
she might have frozen there. But he let me
let her in, take a blanket from the sofa

and wrap her up, a tall doll delivering herself
to us, her blue eyes wide open,
her blonde hair long and chill.

Clearing his throat, he called her parents,
who came from down the street, talking nervously
of sleepwalking and insufficient locks.

They took her home, and it was quiet.
He got another beer and looked around,
still deciphering that stern, small message.


Published in The Persimmon Tree: An Online Journal of the Arts by Women Over Sixty, Winter 2019

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