At least I still have something.

I clutch Annie to my chest.

Goodnight sweetheart you said.

I’ll turn off the light behind you.

You move out in a week. 

The children are frightened. 

The oldest waivers between book

ripping rage and eye watering denial.

The youngest sits in my lap

sobs for television. I breathe out

courage, think of Pema. 

I listen to Esther, her Dutch

accent light in my ears 

as I do laundry, fold 

a stack of your 

clothes because I need

the basket because I love

you because Esther says 

words sometimes get lost. 

I still have something,

the sweet poppy of my own choice.

I guard my heart with Sophie, Sarah, Sonya. 

Wrap women’s words like wire

around my breaking self

to bear me up so I can

find a movie,

tape up books,

keep moving on. 

Katherine Anderson Howell is a poet, esthetician, and parent in Washington, DC. Her recent work can be found in Whale Road Review, Atlas and Alice, and Dead Mule.