Your mother calls you, her voice caught somewhere below a shriek
and above a scream. When you left the house this morning
you were wearing a blue shirt that I ironed, the back still wrinkled a little.
She tells you that I am gone. That our drawers no longer contain my clothes.
That Emily and Roberta’s closets are cleaned of everything but cobwebs. Her voice
shakes, tears gather in her eyes, I try to take her hand but she brushes me off.
I hear your shouts on the other end of the line. Anger passes through me in waves,
but I am the beach today, all of that sand that is pummeled against, over and
over, and does not react for centuries. You ask where I could be
and she says we might be in Orlando. There was something about Sea World
scrawled on the calendar, half erased. Didn’t Maria have friends there?
your mother asks. She used to, you reply, and go on to book plane tickets,
roaring on the other end of the line. In twenty minutes the children are buckled
into their car seats, the car contains all the seeds of our new life in the east.