Construction Literary Magazine

Fall 2019

In a Café After You Died

In a Café After You Died
Photograph via Flickr by Chris Devers

When I hear another mother call your name, Riley!,

                 Riley, breakfast is ready!

I look for you.

                 Riley, drink your juice.

Your namesake has spiky hair,

                 Riley, see the moon.

and your long neck.

                 Riley, take a bath.

His mother smooths his hair.

                 Riley, take your medicine.

She kneels and kisses his head.

                 Riley, brush your teeth.

I watch her clasp his hand and lead him to the door.

                 Riley, it’s bedtime.

Her cheeks flushed, like mine used to be.

                 Riley, don’t climb out the window.

He stops in the window frame, looks back.

                 Riley, don’t go!

His lanky silhouette disappears into the light.

                 Riley, is that still your name?

I stare at the empty space.