My mom is burning leaves and there is ink drying.
The smoke is white this morning, and doesn’t stray from its column. Its smell is slightly out of reach.
Instead I smell dead leaves, thousands of them, all a uniform rust. They smell like pre-school, by which I probably just mean dirt, and the very beginning of decay.
The neighbor is behind the evergreen trees we planted decades ago. Their radio is smothered by the small dog’s growls.
I remember their dog, and I remember mine, dozing by this chair’s legs. I remember him falling the other day, dancing a clumsy waltz until he met the ground. I remember the rustle as his body rolled.
I remember the neighbor’s laugh.
I remember remembering my sister’s shrunken voice, weak, yet all crescendo, as I watched him struggle to stand. Mom, something’s wrong with Dad. I remember the feeling of preemptive loss as my dog stumbled once more. I remember gliding to meet him, coaxing him inside.
The smoke has fully met me now. It is more acrid than I expected.
An acorn pummels the metal roof, and I remember preparing to watch someone I love die.
Sylvia Foster is a redheaded twenty-something living in the southern United States. She hopes to write poetry that speaks to a universal human experience and makes people reconsider poetry as a visual art. She is currently pursuing an MFA in Poetry at the University of Arkansas.