It is late October, and a red rose bush
Is blooming on the south side of her house,
In that best place for the light. I remember
How she could draw a flower
When we were in high school, a few
Simple strokes and strange beauty appeared.
I remember her quiet wit, her careful attention
To all she did. Cow skulls line the fence
On the east side of her property, which borders
The burnt-out home she grew up in, an only
Child of older parents, those parents long gone,
And now she is, too. Her last years
Set her back, kept her here, right here
In the frozen brambles of the fixed grasp,
Hot as bleached bones, cold as the day
We stood on the football field as teenagers,
She marching in the band, and I cheering
In the forever time of the past. I wish
I had kept her music alive in my life.
I wish her art had been enough to keep
Her happy and safe so we could get greyer
And travel that one mile between us
Like old maids rocking out of the margins
Of the pack of cards life dealt us.