five by five hundred

Upstairs is a trail of clues –
two bowls of cat food,
side by side
on the ottoman; a
nutcracker jammed
into a Yankee Candle; a small
Lord & Taylor shopping bag
filled with dirt
on the kitchen counter.

Sentences fade
or stop
abruptly.
She tells me
she is turning three,
and if you can overlook
the gray hair and
see only the way
she sits – like she will
disappear into her chair – this
wouldn’t be a stretch.

But I have learned
her language. Three is
seventy-two, eating
is talking, the bag of dirt
on the counter the last stop
on this trail of clues
she is maybe intentionally
leaving
as she is leaving.

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