by Hallie Moore

I had the dead oak cut down this week
ten feet of rotted top cracked off
wedged 40 feet up in nearby pines.
Next wind would sail it into the bedroom.
The absent tree an open, empty mouth.

My son shoves a bed out of his childhood room
into the larger room down the hall. Says
he can't sleep in his old one, needs
a bigger space because he's not alone.
He's brought his girlfriend home to live.
They spread clothes and stuff back and forth.

They still can't get a good night's sleep. She leaves,
Goes home and after, he says, she's pregnant,
we're keeping the baby. I leave this weekend
to get married. He says I have to do this,
she makes me happy. I didn't know.

His brother calls, says he knows what it's like.
Let's me know he's made decisions
and chose no baby. I hadn't known. Again.
I tremble, living the wide-mouthed absence.

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