How long the rain, counted out like cotton
from a dandelion, upon her face: she would not say.
The distant hills grew dark and still she stood,
not waiting for the past, but for a present change;
when the telephone would ring, again, but not
repeat what had been said. In the growing glare
of evening, her silhouette mined sorrow
with all the sadness tainted silver bares.
Had she ever banged her head?
Or chipped a tooth?
At the third undrunk cup of coffee,
when the stain upon her cotton dress
hung heavy at the hem, she let herself
be led from the rain of the balcony to her bed.
There to take communion, of wine and pill,
as fretful faces murmoured low, she undressed;
stiff as a doll, staring at the ceiling.
Did she have any birth marks?
Had she ever painted her finger nails?
At the closing of the door, and the flicking of the light.
she held onto the crucifix, she wore before
as decoration. And sinking from unthinking
a prayer played upon the lips, for children....