For Sheri on Her 45th Birthday

She cannot translate darkness
from those days when the sun only exaggerates
cold, only teases with its light. The blank 

scrim separating her from us does not give forth
a familiar word or shape to fill
in with pointillist tools or hatched lines. It stares 

back without a batting, no shadow limbs
to move behind it, without one
eyelash dropping free 

on her cheek. She can only see as far
as it opens before her—all of a life truncated
at 22, more than twice that
number of years swinging 

without interpretation. What tongue
do the dead whisper in as they do the math?

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