I was reading poems about Hiroshima
in a Burger King coffee shop across
from where my car was up on a lift,
exposed like a woman on some white slab

at a gynecologist’s office, waiting to
learn what the doctor finds wrong. I
hadn’t spoken to my mother for two
days after she called half my friends,

worried about an almost nonexistent
hurricane. I was ripping, but it hurt
more feeling so apart. Somehow, I
couldn’t not call, and we talked past

noon as chicory grew into shadow.
Black-eyed Susans near the booth,
I sipped coffee, relieved we were back
together, in the braid of each other.

I couldn’t have imagined four years
from then we’d be unable to do what
now seemed so ordinary again. Or that
ten years later I’d be sitting between

body sculpture and ballet class in another
town, thinking how it’s never been this
long since I talked with my mother.