On the day she died
an egret flew low over our heads,
each feather sharply shadowed
on its snow-carved wings.
There are pieces of her in me.
The one-sided heat of a gas fire
and the patina on her teaspoons.
The particular cold of a greenhouse in winter.
A small fortune of copper coins
slyly pointed out on the ground,
a hundred lucky days.
The secret places in a church,
and the weight of altar cloths.
Jagged pieces, too, mine now to name
and keep. No longer borrowed, but given.
A sullen silence and words unmeant.
An unsustainable balance. A hedgehog wall.
But if, on the day I die,
someone can mistake my soul for an egret,
I will have lived a good life.