Photograph by Brian Michael Barbeito


by Virginia Boudreau

At the Door

My mother stood at the screen door
in summer, storm door in winter
patiently waving us out of sight

first, as we walked to school
later as we drove away
in shiny new cars of our own

the image will always be there
her lone figure silhouetted
arm upraised, a brave smile hovering

now my father stands in her place
and as we leave “Grandpa’s”
he waits at the door

one hand heavy on his cane
the other waving goodbye
before turning back

to his empty house.


for Aislin

Glass leaves dangle and twitch,
circle an empty play
ground. Sudden wind hisses
through teeth clenched tight
as that zipper on the pink snowsuit
you wore when you were four.

In search of a Yahtzee
thunder rolls a fistful of clacking
dice, it falls rumbling through pewter
banks of cloud onto the soccer field’s
rich green baize.

I already knew the odds.
Desolation arcs in the pale oyster sky,
scrubbed raw. It smells like breathed-in
baby skin pearled with beads of water
warm from the bath.

I know beyond the glass
The sodden grass is soft and furred
as the starred mattress of celadon
moss in a forgotten corner
of the old cottage garden.

Even at conception, your departure was inscribed
on our bare limbs, our bed of fallen leaves.


About the photographer: Brian Michael Barbeito is a nature poet, landscape photographer, and fiction writer. Recent work appears at The Notre Dame Review. Brian is the author of Chalk Lines (Fowl Pox Press, 2013).