Finally, when there is nothing left
in the trunk, the clothing passed out
among siblings and cousins in moments
of common sense, she leaves the lid open
so the scent of the child’s belongings
will fade, so she won’t be tempted
to put her head inside that box to breathe.
Then she decides to paint the room,
chooses the child’s favourite grass green,
and can only manage one coat. The cracks
in the woodwork glare at her like honesty.
She stamps a hole in the suitcase.
But she can’t change the bedding;
its grey blankets still convey
the child’s limbs. If only, like tea leaves
in a china cup, she’d read the pillows
that morning and barred the door.
Now, she knows their pattern,
only needs to close her eyes
to see them, crumpled, with a space
left open for her head.