Knox Thompson first crossed paths with the man who would…
No snow today, no two below.
No diapers waiting in the pail for bleach.
No pail. No wooden house above the two-lane road,
no Freewill Baptist Church next door, no
cemetery on the point above our bedroom window.
No jewelweed, no damp dirt road rising in shade,
no poison ivy, no view of the Big Sandy as yet unseen
from the end of that trail. No weight, alive
in my arms, no new-broken ground thick with garden beans
wrapped in morning glory vines. Nothing twines here
except stillness broken by her call. They’re not here
either, and yet
that baby and her daughter calling,
their tale about the broken washer fills the living room
with voices, brings back that forty-year gone snow,
the smelly pail, the garden beans, the jewelweed.
Changed bodies—hers and mine—marked by births
and deaths, bad hips, a grandmother’s imperfect
spine singing down the chromosomes. What isn’t
here? What is? This August heat, cicada whir,
a cricket by the door, and everything unseen.