Over Rose Petals

 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. 

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