A thumb-smear on the tile floor, the smell
of blood, menstrual, in the room where I am
on my haunches, waiting to catch my friend
if she pitches forward, giving up what she said
she expected to: she knew it wouldn’t take,
didn’t even tell us until the midnight call
that fetched my sweetheart – still wearing his coat, ready
for a hospital run – and me, wielding towels.
Her husband tends the three-year-old, hectic
in the late commotion, the grownups gathered
for what must be a party, but too patient
and too sad. And when she settles on the couch –
stanched, hand on the phone – we watch the boy
rocket through the room, firm and loud in his skin,
while his father leaves to stand at the sink
and wash dishes, dishes, every dish in reach.