She wasn’t there the night
the mother died
instead the brother
called at 1 am.
She’s gone, he said.

The sister had been there all day
watching her chest heave,
each breath a rage
against some hope 
a dying body doesn’t want

She described her as
a word the other brother
refused to accept
Can’t you just say 
you loved her?
Can’t you just say that?

She held the hand of the mother
yellow and sallow
who held hers, once
red and strong enough 
to knock the sass 
out of a mouth

She walked out into her backyard,
the restless sky crammed with stars
waiting for something to break, knowing
the mother would always be 
somewhere listening for her name.