by Burnside Soleil

See that?
my daughter asks–
rain like glass slanting through the boughs.

We are led
only by the belief in the late afternoon light.

Yesterday, the dried leaves crunched under our heels,
and the trees had a language, a touch. A lilt.

We saw an owl once on that limb,
the sudden terrible life of it.

The porch has no screen,
punched loose
to lure the sky

Now, I carry the groceries upstairs
and at the bottom of a bag
find an apple with soft rot skin.

The fridge opens,
the air curling like cream.

Look, I say.

And the coffee beans spill,
rattling black on the counter.

My daughter scoops them into her hands.

She runs to the window
and names the tree with its rupture
of pink flowers.

Her voice a small brutal wonder.
A ghost without a haunting.

Then, a black umbrella–
fresh with rain–
appears like a bouquet on the dinner table.

Sometimes, I want to tell her
that she’s my only family,
but there’s banishment in that.

Later, she will be asleep, both of us
tucked into her purple sheets.
I will see through her thin white curtain
the neighbors’ window still glowing.

And I will think of snow
in the wilderness–
of a mountain,
of a river.