There in the cold morning of the child’s wake
we stole glances over soft shoulders
and stood in silence thinking the same thing:
Glad it wasn’t one of us.
After that we rarely saw her.
Susan said she stumble upon her
Standing in the cereal aisle,
Staring in to boxes and sobbing.
But how could we have helped her?
We were raising our families on heavy hips,
Maintaining the potluck inventory,
And pruning the tomatoes.
Until the day it happened, as we all knew it would.
Brenda told Jeb she was going for a walk.
She stopped by the coal pit to collect some rocks.
There on the bridge with the black stone she wrote:
The light has left me.
Jeb went whizzing through town, shouting her name.
We all followed, naturally.
When we came to the bridge--
It was as if the galaxy had
collapsed onto the water below.
There was Brenda’s milky nightgown,
Tangled in a tree branch,
A ghost in the wind.
And something else too.
Something we all never talked about again,
Maybe because none of us wanted to believe it.
Maybe because it just didn’t seem possible.
Maybe because we never found Brenda’s body.
But right there
In front of us all,
We all saw it:
The outline of Brenda,
The outline of Brenda.
It was illuminated by tiny fragments of light,
There on the shallow surface of the lake,
That icy afternoon,
With only the sundrenched silhouette of her being,
Bobbing up and down,
Up and down,
Brandi Kary is a mother, educator, and writer who lives in Pacific Grove, California. She currently teaches English and Creative Writing at Monterey Peninsula College. Both she and her anthropolgist husband enjoy dragging their kids all over the world to gain inspiration. Her poetry has recently appeared in Flutter Poetry Journal and Homested Review.