Don't talk to me––he's sifting
papers heaped like leaves. He
takes one from a creased envelope
and puts it back. How did he drag
the spare fridge from the shed
when the white hulk died?

After the dump run, maybe
you'll see my grouse. She comes
close to the car and scolds me,
she's trying to teach me Grouse.

Food blackens in the warm fridge.
I sidestep salvaged lumber, open
the back door––I'm looking
for the ruffed bird. Begging the air.



(Copyright © 2015 by Joan Larkin. All rights reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced in any medium, print or electronic, without the author’s written permission, except for brief quotations in reviews. First published in The New England Review, Vol. 35, No. 4, 2015: New England Review, Middlebury College, Middlebury, VT 05753, www.nereview.com.)