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
in being born.
And there we were, beholden
and attempting some quiet,
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
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.