setting the table (for Phyllis Watkins Spengler): Sue Spengler
John sits in the lamp-lit living room and strums Here Comes the Sun
into the stale air, driving away the dusk with Little Darlin’, it seems like years since it’s been clear.
In the kitchen, yellow walls
struggle to reflect (refract?) the sun’s dying
glow into radiant beams. Even the speed of light seems slower now.
I carry five white plates from the kitchen into the dining room, because there are five of us, and five places at the table.
but suddenly, I don’t know where we’re all going to sit because she sat there
and there, later,
after the wheelchair
and there’s no place for us for all of us
because there are five of us and only five chairs
and if I place a plate for all of us that means there’s no place
I sink to my knees, still holding the white plates that I can’t place. She took up so much space, for so long. Now she’s gone,
and I don’t know how
to fill her place
at the table.