Feral iris bloom peach and blue and cream, and sweet-tempered purple violas, and a busy chipmunk digdigdigs up the mint and basil and thyme, little bastard. He skitter-pops on quick feet over the mulch while the sun rises through one soft smoky exhale.

In the house, the man and the boy sleep, and maybe dream.

All over town, along every street, spiky white daisies to braid a crown.

Occupy the blank hollows between clockticks not considering his obituary, or eulogy, or anything words at all—instead, chipmunks and herbs and irises and smoke.

At the Farmers’ Market, booths blush with the pinks and reds of April and May. Eat strawberries by the fistful dirt and all red-mouthed and sweet-tounged while children and dogs swarm your knees—a little bit of thunder, or the echo of a phone call in your head. A woman rhapsodizes spring asparagus, somewhere to your immediate left. Radishes taste best with butter.

Eat. Eating after a death is a mitzvah, after all.

If walking is hard, aimless onefootinfrontoftheother up the stairs and down the stairs and to the stove to fill the teakettle to the cupboard a box of stale crackers the bathroom a Kleenex from one bright window to another to another, then stand. If standing is hard, in the empty kitchen empty bedroom empty living room, sit. The faded green chair by the north-facing window, the window with the bird feeder. Chickadees and goldfinches and starlings and robins perform a mitzvah.

You are an empty teacup.

Molasses-sticky feet cling damp to linoleum—a light and brief hand on a wall a caesura, stopped in place for a minute or an hour, a week, a year.

Grief plans an extended visit, but neglects to call ahead.

Grief chain smokes Lucky Strikes on the porch and watches that goddamn chipmunk eat the mojito mint, Grief swarms around your feet with red-mouthed kids and barking dogs in the hot street discusses asparagus with the woman to your immediate left. Grief picks blue irises and white daisies to make you a crown and stands on your front step with both hands flowerfull until you consent to let it in.

 

Suzanne Cody

Suzanne Cody’s (MFA, Nonfiction Writing, University of Iowa) recent publications include poetry in Gambling the Aisle, Crack the Spine, and Storm Cellar, essay in Queen Mob’s Tea House and Pithead Chapel, and flash fiction in Blink Ink. Suzanne served on the editorial committee for the Seneca Review anthology We Might as Well Call It the Lyric Essay, and is currently Nonfiction Editor for Crack the Spine.

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