shot glass
"... brevity is the soul of wit ..."
- William Shakespeare

Rodd Whelpley

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In the Weeks Before

She stopped calling her husband Doc,
as we all had always done.

The orange leaves left the trees.
The spikey gumballs too, and

that year no one bothered
raking up the mess. Instead,

we remembered our mothers
searching for the perfect Maple,

English Oak or Buckeye to keep
inside a bible, leaves pressed

in leaves. So many leavings forgotten
on childhood shelves in books for which

we reached a thousand miles away.
It took the slow metastasis of autumn

to comprehend physicians bound to fail,
but, she allowed, her Phillip never would.

— for Anne and Doc Mueller