time slows

and how time slows
as you fold
laundry with her in late September.
your hair braided
hers, a memory now.

all the kids are out this morning.
you sort t-shirts towels and sweaters
and slide maybe single socks across the table
to her waiting hands.

what is it
eighteen years, maybe more,
and now she’s dying.
November seems a stretch.

and what can be done
but crease the clothes back on themselves
stack them in the autumn sun.

soon you know
you will make lunch
put clothes away
and perhaps
unbraid your hair
for her to brush in the backyard
golden leaves falling
to ground.