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.

Also by this author

Please email comments to [email protected] and join the conversation on our Facebook page.

Published in the May 16, 2014 issue: View Contents
© 2024 Commonweal Magazine. All rights reserved. Design by Point Five. Site by Deck Fifty.