A Leaf Falls

We buried your grandfather’s body
in a graveyard in old Virginia.

I stood somber in a cheap black dress
bought for the funeral,
my eyes downcast, not belonging.

In the nursing home
we carried out boxes,

and the elderly gathered like dry leaves, rustling,
winter-haired.

I wanted to sing to them,
but instead I walked briskly by—
a sound in my ear, like the quiet roar
inside a shell.

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