For months, she wrote
only of estuaries, which is how I knew
she was leaving.
It was February when she began packing—
sweaters, her collection of dried leaves—
pieces of her vanishing as she would
if she stayed. At some point,
I began to help. Folding her mother’s linens
into the bag stowed in our closet,
I thought maybe
I could stow myself away, too—
snuggled against her rejection letters
and wool socks,
which had begun to unravel at the toes.
Maybe I had begun to unravel, too.
One day, I came home to stillness
and a book on estuarial wading birds
open on the ironing board.