Shriveled peas roll from my plate, into the pail where several crusts from morning toast await. Three escape into the sink and I chase them around the basin like piglets in a pen. I have trouble locating them as a shard of light pierces the tattered curtain, yet I can feel them, cornered. My fingers are still nimble enough to pinch and so they join the others.
On my way out, I pass her chair, pushed snug against the table. I stroke its back the way I used to caress the handrail as I stepped onto the porch of her parents’ house, my stomach twisting and turning with new love. Her barn coat still hangs from the old iron hook like dainties slung over the shower rod. Although the sight of it burns my eyes each time I come in or go out, I would die but for the yearning.
Then, the screen door slams behind me, echoing off every corner of the barnyard. On cue, they call to me like eager hatchlings waiting for their share.