In the dead afternoon, June’s hands meet the water,
submerging each dish and raising it clean.
The children are at school. Nothing breathes,
not even the curtains stir.
Through the window, June watches
The ancient mare and wonders if she remembers
That stallion who, years ago, sired
The spring foal. Perhaps the old horse too
knows the grim mysteries of the widow’s calling.
From its shelf, she pulls the plate as she has already done today,
as she will do again tomorrow and lowers it beneath the surface.
This plate from which last he ate, where last she offered her strength for his,
from which he stood to swear his only broken vow,
“See you soon,” he’d said.
The plate, made new by water, she holds to the light.
She wants to kiss it, breathe it in as if from this
fragile souvenir she might yet glean the scent of one departed.
Instead, she lifts it back to its high place like a relic, a thing newly sacred, made holy by her love.