Her Empires Are Falling Down
“Is that a tent caterpillar cocoon?” she asks.
She snaps a picture. The cocoon could cradle a small person.
We come to the stream where I once taught her about crustaceans. She lifts a stone, out dances a green crayfish, pincers ready. She smiles, bittersweet.
She is everything her father and I ever wanted. All her days ahead. All I will miss.
“I didn’t mean the stuff I said.” Thickness chokes her voice.
“I know.” I do.
She hugs my bony body as if trying to keep me earth-tethered.
A sharp breeze announces Autumn, leaves collect, silently, a shroud.