“Red Wall,”
Stephanie Lee Jackson

Angela Narciso Torres


for R.S., 1965-1993

Rica, when Mother’s call came 
on your last day, I was in Tucson, 
in a house too far from home. 

From a window above 
the kitchen sink, the cold 
receiver to my ear, I watched

three blackbirds flutter 
then settle on the branches 
of a eucalyptus, older than 

the sapling that barely cleared 
your fence, slender boughs reaching 
into our yard, pendant leaves 

flashing silver into the windows 
of our girlhood. Stepping into 
the clay light of dusk, I remembered

the blackbirds—three, still there.
Rica, if you could hear how they called, 
if you could only hear them.