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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Poetry  |  House: Booksie Classic

Submitted: May 15, 2017

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Submitted: May 15, 2017



Emma collects the porcelain pieces into the dustpan,

Careful to get




Swept up.

A larger piece of the shattered dish

She turns over in her hands.

A marigold, half-bloomed,

Orange petals pushing themselves out of the stem like a tuft of feathers

Lies beneath the shiny glaze.

A wedding gift

Married with matching teacups.

Worn out,

The rims chipped and scratched from years of utility.

A clumsy couple,

She and Scott were.


Each bit of glass is swept up now,

But where is the energy to carry it off?

Emma stares off quietly for a few moments,

Soaking in the serenity of an empty house.


No amount of powder could cover the marks of exhaustion and grief

That trailed over her olive skin.

This feeling reminded her

Of when he’d told her for the first time

That he would be deployed.

Her stomach dropping.

Her breath escaping.

Her despair growing.

But this was much worse than that.


Emma had entered the kitchen a few minutes earlier,

And halted when she spotted the broken dish

Forgotten from last night.

She sat there, clutching the trash bag,

Recalling that when the dish slipped out of her hands,

She never heard it

Hit the floor.

Her attention was seized

By the men in uniform

Who stood at her doorstep.


She saw them before she dropped it.

Her upper body stiffened,

Legs wrenching forward,

Preparing to face an inexorable fate.

Drawing closer,

The soft thud of her bare feet against the wood floor cut through the silence.

She didn’t even hear them knock.

Her ears were filled with the sound of herself drawing


And closer.

Finally, she clasped the doorknob with a clammy hand and twisted it open.

Her whole body felt hot, every muscle shaking and weak.

She saw the identical, deep blue uniforms.

Before either of the men could say anything,

She cried.

One officer extended his hand,

Presenting her with a small, orange envelope,

While the other pulled his face away,

An attempt to distract himself.

Emma heard the distorted, underwater words.

She watched his lips as they mouthed, “I’m so sorry, ma’am.”


After it replays in her head,

Emma forces herself to loosen her grip on the trash bag.

She blinks her raw eyelids,

Trying to send the tears back to where they came from.

She owes it to Scott to be strong.

Breathing evenly,

Emma closes her eyes,

Brings her hand to her stomach.

She waits a few moments,

Praying silently.

And then, she smiles,

And opens her eyes,

Once she feels her baby kick.

© Copyright 2018 Callie Lindemeyer. All rights reserved.

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