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By the yellow gingham chair


there’s an apple core going brown

by the books beside the empty glass

of red wine, sediment like blood spilled


near your empty chair where you

sat last evening reading and the sun

is a white line on the windowsill


so still, the bookshelves, our photos

deceased brother, father, mother,

sister still alive, enshrined, framed


the box of ashes we separated

to pretend half of your brother

was the cat we didn’t collect


from the vet for our grandchild.

Will we tell her, one day, that

box contains her great uncle


how we split his ashes in half

sealed both boxes and now

he’s in two rooms at one time


if asked to could we name

our sorrows guess their weight

truly know their shape?


the unlit lamp leans towards

the yellow gingham chair  while

you’re not there – keeping score




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