My neighbor died in June.

He died on the last day of the month

of endless possibilities.

He died precisely

as I was elsewhere, as I was

home-going and thrashing about it.

Just the other side of the solstice

and the fields were replete

with what he’d planted,

as though the Walla Wallas

and the rhubarb and the goose-

berries had survived

a mother

in being born.

And there we were, beholden

and attempting some quiet,

adoring rally

of a salvage

at the stand. People kept

showing up to help.

When my sister drove down to see Patrick,

two women told her: his winded heart.

She wept in front of them. It was so

hot out.

It was not the kind of day she had thought it was.

When she told me, we were in two

separate cars, braked on the hill

where our road first bends,

and I cried in the backseat of mine like a child,

like the fair ended yesterday after all.