It seems an act can stand-in for a child
for last year, when my life was spun
crazy with tasks–sanding,
the application of mastic and grout–
I did not feel childless.
Though the children were gone
(shivered east on an airplane
and farther east), the gestures remained.
Score the walls. Spray on vinegar.
Rip paper away. Scrape plaster off
like grass stain from jeans.
Yet the pink slip lay in my mind.
I knew it was there, though I kept it unread,
my brain tricked by the body’s lie:
the unchanged motion of work means
life is not changed.