Absence Comes for Everything
Absence comes, takes us all away.
It need not be swift, or sure, or even-handed,
or practical like a hawk, screech owl, wolf.
It need not be a comet streaking,
spelling out our names in its ice trail
or close silently like a book.
It need not rattle like metal
where every loose part jiggles and jolts.
The absence does not tremble elm leaves
in a teasing wind.
It need not be any combination of events.
I had to put down some dying animals. I found
the results of a fox having shaken a chicken’s neck.
One spring, the crops took early frost,
and everything went limp.
My grandfather when he folded into a chair,
too exhausted to know how tired he was, how late
the evening is when he released. My grandmother
never rescued the pie before it blackened.
For my father, it was a year of moaning, wishing
it was over, the final miles, painful.
The absence came to my mother
as a joy suggesting somewhere was better.
The absence comes for everything.