I felt strong; language and whole
milk had repaired our shredded

spring. Then, snow fell and
a strange woman answered

your phone. “Stella’s fine,”
she said. My stomach soured

at her cheer. You and your
backache are teaching me

what it is to lose a friend.
I spoil you by learning well.

Sally Van Doren has poems published recently in American Letters and Commentary, Ellipsis, Lumina, Margie, Roger, and 2River. Her collection, Sex at Noon Taxes, won the Walt Whitman Award from the Academy of American Poets. She curates the Sunday Workshop Series for the St. Louis Poetry Center and has taught in St. Louis public schools and at Washington University.