Those were the hours, infected,
we were aware of her body, the fever
wringing out the cloth of her, the sheets
a witness. This was a skirmish
in a war of attrition—win the day,
ignore the lost cause. Is this the lesson?
When I was five, I’d sit on the curb
with a paperclip hook on a string
to fish the storm drain. What is empathy
if not a found treasure? After illness,
sun. That’s what I mean: the lesson
a tchotchke. And her body,
a bird from the nest, as if falling
is what’s meant by all this time.