How the nest was never empty,
though her limbs’ brittling
made the sound of searching in the twigs.
How we readied the hollow for her body,
for the memory of her silvering to braid itself
into our stomachs, where it could unravel.
How it was not a dream when I
pulled a strand of her hair from my throat,
as if another needle-boned song.
How I was not ashamed when I
wrapped it around my finger, twisted it
into a quilter’s knot, and swallowed it again.
She imagined we left long ago;
we had to return the favor.