The Remaining Years

by Bridget Sprouls


Lily’s lover makes a few passes through the murk.

Finally he crashes the plane.


The piano titters good and loud. 

Someone else eats his steak. 


His wristwatch ticks another year, then Lily settles down 

with a traveling knife grinder.


She asks him to shave his mustache, but he won’t.


White lines lengthen overhead…. She conjures different-looking kids not feeding hens and geese.


The holes her mother jabbed to decorate her ears close,

and her neighbors do all the talking.


One day a rusty lawn chair collapses beneath her. 

Peas scatter from the bowl.


When her husband dies, she rents a piano,

but her fingers on the keys fall like drips on stone.


Too long ago.

Too long to go.


Acid reflux climbs her throat in low scrapes everyone ignores.


Inside red glass the candle will gutter as 

her great, great grandchild runs through the house.


His hand will be pried open. 


Relatives will pass the watch around,

then take it to an expert, who will see straight away

it is unremarkable.


By then the streets will have been paved.

The vendors will have moved indoors.


Every block will smell oddly sweet of hamburger.