How do I know you/have returned?/…Most of all that tendril of clear/uncertainty: knowing what could be lost.


When you returned, your children told stories to each other again:
Remember when you’d throw us up into the air and land on waves
bigger than mountains? Remember how you’d swim to us laughing
and we would cough up brine and yell: that’s not funny, you know.
Remember where you left the chocolate bars for noche buena and
how they’d melted underneath Mom’s pillow, and O, you laughed!
Remember why we hid the goat that was to grace your birthday,
and you laughed that we saved a life on your birthday? Billy. Billy.
Billy, we called out for him feigning ignorance of a coy conspiracy.
Like spring, if it never comes, there would be no laughter coming
from that corner where your rocking chair remains empty. Sundown
would bring some such uncertain question murmured: Remember?
When you returned, I knew what I had lost. Like an absent spring.