What I forgot to say

was that you were right.
The coldest day of the year is not the time
to bring home a puppy, but we did it, again.

Your advice is not so much ignored
as it is remembered inconveniently late in irrevocable situations.
This makes it prophecy of the awkward Cassandra type,
or the kind that you can only read in the bird’s entrails after it stops twitching.

You have been right, all along,

that I dream of being at the end of stacks of laundry or grading or dishes
as if they were dreams of falling from a great height where it is important to wake up
before discovering a blank surface

that there are mornings when I do not recognize the curve of my husband’s back
turned away from me in the sun slicing through the curtain
and days when I forget the color of my own eyes

that the memory of the well-loved dead is a phantom hand, long amputated,
still holding a remembered glass of wine which I absent-mindedly bring to my lips

far too often.

Listen, what I forgot to say—
there is an immature downy woodpecker
in the small woods where the dog and I walk.
I have seen him creeping down the side of the dead tree,
head cocked, listening for life beneath the bark.

Yesterday, we stopped for the booming thwock of bird skull against wood,
she on point, and I scanning for a flash of red against the gray sky, the dark gray trees.
The clamor came from nowhere and everywhere,
but we found the bird hiding in its own echo.

about the author
Amy Drees misses her last real writer’s group that met in Piqua, Ohio, many years ago. She now teaches constantly, and writes infrequently in the colder, flatter north of the state.