In half a day we had your life packed
into plastic garbage bags for Goodwill. I cried

only when I saw your slack stretched
mouth in that impossible silence: I know

how you snore. My dad snaps photos like it’s the Grand
Canyon, while the long lost troops descend to gawk

at my life: Chicago, the unimaginable
crime, the glamorous ad job, singlehood

at thirty-seven. Their eyes dig to discern how
a baby hand buttons a blazer, how flyaway

brown hair turns yellow with roots. You
had never demanded that I unbreak those engagements, never

asked after a timeline, wanted only to stop me
from eating a box of macaroni and cheese

for dinner (it didn’t work). You
confided your side of the story:

The hearing aid ached inside your ear,
and it buzzed. We were partners in crime, united

against the ones who wanted the same thing
for us both: for us to be happy.


“Last Day with Clara” won an Honorable Mention award in the Northwest Cultural Council’s 3rd Annual International Juried Exhibition, Nov 2006, and originally appeared online on the Northwest Cultural Council website.