When I email to tell her it’s snowing,
and about what I’m seeing now

out the window near where I’m seated,
she writes back to say,

How could a person resist the sight
of a porcupine in a tree?

Just one of the many things she’s asked
that I don’t have an answer for

now that she’s no longer here
to see what I can see more clearly,

now that there’s more than just distance
between us, now that she’s on one coast

and I’m on the other, colder one,
now that there’s just words between us

instead of something we once believed
as a promise never meant to be broken,

like something high up in the branches—
something untamable, forever wild.


Robert Harlow resides in upstate NY, which should tell you all you need to know about him. He is the author of Places Near and Far (Louisiana Literature, 2018). His poems appear in Poetry Northwest, RHINO, Cottonwood, The Midwest Quarterly, and elsewhere. Or so he has been led to believe.