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Barbara Daniels

Nobody told me my cousin Melody died.
Leah is eight. She says her cat’s dying.
She’s old for a cat, Leah tells me.

All but two of her chickens and both
her rabbits were killed by a dog
that tore through chicken wire.

One of my third cousins says she has five
children and she herself was a fifth child.
How is it you have no children, she asks me.

How terrible. What terrible thing
went wrong. What animals do you have
at home, Leah asks. Her last chicken’s neck

got twisted around. Uncle Nick died.
And Mickie. Aunt Grace. I knew that.
Nobody told me Melody died.

Now that Mom’s dead, nobody calls
with the family news. Leah, I have no
animals. No chickens, cats, rabbits, dogs.

Image by Alex Nodopaka