The Absent Place by Laura Foley

The Absent Place

Her husband rests
in the slanting Adirondack chair,
centered on the lawn he’s just cut,
for the first time this summer—
the one they know is her last,
though she’s not yet sixty.
He savors the fragrant spice
of shorn grass and blooming lavender,
forgetting, for a moment,
her countless tumors,
the malignant blooming.
She heats water in a copper pot,
stirs in sugar, simmers a new batch
of hummingbird nectar,
as the tiny whirring birds arrive:
one, then two, then one again,
hovering in the absent place
where the feeder once hung.

by Laura Foley, first published in Valparaiso Poetry Review.

Editor’s Note: Sometimes the sorrow happens before the death.