Condolence

Condolence

Tucked up in the top bunk under my Spiderman duvet
I half-follow a story with a beginning and an end,

then she tiptoes the hallway to stand by the hearth
and considers, and sits, and slips the ruled sheet

behind the front page of her pad to write out in good
phrases to wives and the parents of husbands

with such slow deliberation the slack is blanched
and collapses, and the fire consumed by its ashes.

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