“‘They Have Stolen Her Kitchen'” by William Aarnes

       Mary Oliver, “Aunt Elsie’s Night Music”
the refrigerator gone
the stove gone
her pots and pans
gone along with the oven
even the dish towels
even the aprons and their rack
even her toaster
even the mixer
even the cupboards and counters
even the faucet and sink
even the mingling of good
and bad odors under the sink
even the mice
even the roaches
the stool gone
the rugs gone
replaced by a broken plate
and a floury spill
on the floor
even the window
and the birdfeeder that hung just outside
even her birdbath
even the birds
even the about-to-bloom azaleas
even her rows of romaine
just coming up in the garden
even the dogwoods at the edge of the lot
even the maples sprouting their leaves
even the squirrels

William Aarnes has had recent work in Main Street Rag, NewVerseNews, and The Write Launch. He has published two collections with Ninety-Six Press—Learning to Dance (1991) and Predicaments (2001)—and a third collection, Do in Dour, from Aldrich Press (2016).