My friend is crying

           on the phone her grandmother

                      died and I can hear water

           rising all around her

the river raised

           to carry her home

                      she lives in Florida now

           ten hours south

from her grandmother

           somehow dead there and her not

                      there too and it isn’t the against-


that has me static-silent

           on the phone no it’s that I don’t

                      understand the feeling

           I did not cry for mine

I did not know her

           before her heart kicked

                      sixty years old on the office

           floor she wished

she didn’t know

           my birthday never touched

                      my small pink toes I never

knew the smell

of her perfume

           color of her eyes how soft

                      her hands too late now

           no picture then

in my seven-year-old

           mind when my mother

                      told me she was dead no

           I only cry at death

when it’s animal

           whether roadside fawn

                      or first beagle named Beaux

           bitten by a snake

maybe this means

           I’m lucky I’ll stay dry

                      and grounded and uncarried

           never to be swept under

my friend is quiet

                      now she asks me

           are you still there

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