Some have died off 
or are confined to memory care,
while the youngest, my daughter, 
is already eight and growing faster 
than summer clover. Looking back, 
there were only a few good years,
a blink of the eye in the scheme of things, 
when that grouping I think of as family,
six of us — my parents, sister, brothers and I — 
were together: brief winter evenings at the kitchen table 
playing poker for pennies, short summers out on the deck 
overlooking the long back lawn, me, my daughter’s age, 
chasing fireflies in the deep shadows, 
before dutch elm disease came along,

my dad battling flare ups at the grill, 
mom pouring herself a glass of beer — 
she shouldn’t, but it’s the weekend — my two brothers 
playing catch in the diminishing twilight,
my sister before she goes off to college, on the chaise, 
snapping her cigarette case closed.
I stood at the back of the yard, pickle jar aglow, 
among mole hills and the vegetable garden, 
pea blossoms as the moon rises, 
I could not see my family at all. But I could hear them, 
I hear them still, their laughter, bouncing 
off the back of the house. I feel it blow past me, 
hurrying away, like the wind seeking some place new to favor.