How to Weigh Loss

How to Weigh Loss

Even though see saws are a thing of the past,
I’ll return to a warm June evening when
my brother and I have walked
to the local elementary school.

We seat ourselves on opposite ends,
hold onto the metal handles
and rise and descend, one in the air,
the other on the ground, small craters where

other children have done the same with their feet.
We pull out tangerines we’ve stashed in our
windbreakers, peel them in unison,
one of us suspending the other, trusting a smooth descent.

Years later, on an interstate, he explains how truck
scales work, that the driver stops every
so many hundred miles to weigh his cargo,
invisible load he’s been hauling over state lines,

and I wonder if we can counterbalance
losing our parents so abruptly like we did
as he lists objects with identical weights:
a toaster and a human brain, a football and a box of sugar.

Charlotte Matthews’s memoir, Comes with Furniture and People, was a 2019 finalist for the Indie Book Awards in the category of Women’s Issues. Additionally, she is author of three poetry books, Still Enough to Be Dreaming, Green Stars, and Whistle What Can’t Be Said. Associate Professor at The University of Virginia, she has work recently appear in The American Poetry Review, Cave Wall, The Virginia Quarterly Review, and Ecotone. Her honors include fellowships from The Chautauqua Institute, The Virginia Foundation for the Humanities and The Virginia Center for Creative Arts.