Mary-Kim Arnold





at the table by the window

single daisy in a narrow vase

she watched me as I ate

she turned her hands over in her lap

her lips moving soundlessly

ninety-seven        ninety-six        ninety-five

and then to the train station where I sat on the wooden bench for a long time

telephoned, said

I am on the train now

but she was already gone



darkness falls like a blanket of ash

from the platform to the apartment where they are waiting for me

cheerful and smiling offering soda and bits of meat and fruit

I ate and then I slept

seventy-five        seventy-four        seventy-three

as in a tub of warmed milk



I heard nothing

imagined her at parties one after the other too caught up

fifty-six        fifty-five

too caught up to come to the telephone

from house to house and to garden not sleeping

forty-one        forty

ribbons wound round her wrists



this kindness

they let me sleep and when I awake they take me visiting

when I was small, I dreamed of standing in the rain

all I remember was rain

it rained for days it did not stop raining

thirty-two        thirty-one        thirty

and I thought


I live in rain now

child of rain

it soaked the skin



after they went to bed I remembered her

our lunch by the river

twenty-five        twenty-four

the night we drove in darkness to find ice cream


and I sat up front with her in the van

even though I was too small for the seat

sixteen        fifteen

and the day she gave me the dress that she had made

eleven        ten

too big but she said

nine        eight        seven

you will grow

and the dream I have

six        five

she is standing in my room counting backward from one hundred


no sound


but her lips moving


and when I wake in the morning

she is gone