The family’s hope? That he was too far gone
to notice she was gone. But when he asked for her
for four weeks running, it didn’t seem quite fair
to reassure him with—She’ll be back soon.
So when, pale blue eyes jumping in his head, he said
again, Nurse, where’s my Meg?, as if she were a stranger
(her, his own Bridget, sixth child and sole daughter!),
she told him—Poppa, listen: Momma’s dead.
The news plunged deep into that drowned brain.
He bowed his weighty head. She took his hand—
Had she made a mistake? Could he understand?
. . . Maybe, for when he raised his face again,
he wore a look of rationality triumphant:
I knew it. Otherwise, she would have come.
from Brad Leithauser's Curves and Angles, via Andrew Shields.