all afternoon friends knocking softly
on the front door of our Ash Alley row home
saying to our mother how sorry
they were about her loss
patting her hand and delivering apple pies
plates of summer bologna and cheese
overflowing the kitchen table
and sheets on the cellar floor
that I’d have to walk around with two empty buckets
to the coal bin the bucket and shovel
rattling as I tended the furnace
to keep out the cold.
Harry Humes has published several collections of poetry, including Butterfly Effect (Milkweed Editions), selected for the 1998 National Poetry Series.
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