While we slept, such heavy rain swept past
it shook the last roses loose. They lay
smashed on the deck this morning, their petals
scattered like big white tears. I shouldn’t say
a thing so sentimental. But there they were.
And you, my father, so long dead, why
should I not expect you to be everywhere,
reminding me how little will be left—
vague ache in my own daughter’s heart
as she sweeps the steps after rain whose mercy
is all in the coming, the coming again.

The Gold Basket
after Sébastien Stoskopff’s Corbeille de verres

She filled a gold-mesh basket with crystal glasses.
Gently, so none would break.

And none did, until the last one, the one she knew
might be the one-too-many. The shattering

was quick, isolate, less dramatic than her fear
of everything going to pieces. And so what:

It was only a painting. She’d seen it in a museum,
bought a postcard. Still, every night

she lay filling the gold basket with glasses, worried
she was going too far,

and going too far. In this way she became familiar
with grief, which finally requires of us

acceptance but also tact
in the doing: breakage, yes, but not utter ruin.