We take the dog to deliver a misplaced letter.
Right number, wrong street and so
the whimsy of error finds the afternoon sun
tickling my neck and my son’s hand in mine.
My daughter plunges ahead, impatient for the street library
with its starfish handles and silver lettering
in the shade of a mulberry tree.
We each choose books
except for the dog and then it’s onwards
up to a brick house and a garden ablaze with roses
and a hatted woman pulling weeds.
“Oh, that always happens” she sighs
and her hat blows off showing a pale,
careful face. “My husband just died.
We were with friends. A massive heart attack.”
I want to gasp, to look away
but I meet her eyes and wonder what she sees in mine.
The fear, the pity, and shock like a pinching
in her that I understand now. “That’s… "
She waves vaguely. " I’m waiting for his death certificate.
It hasn’t come yet.” I don’t know what to say.
For this woman I don’t know
I would check every letterbox
and wrongfully accuse a well-to-do postman.
But I just shrug, an oaf in human clothing
with eyes that are trying to be all my lost words.