Father and son tidied up the yard,
made all about the house clean,
mowed the lawn. All the young
men in the family joined in,
prepared the place — in that way —
for her going, called rake
and wheelbarrow into commission,
the afternoon acrid with a scent
of diesel and cut grass.
They worked late and came in
that evening, like men long ago
home from the meadow,
an air about them of appetite
and completion, so preparations
would be echoed in heaven –
here, a wife and mother leaving,
there, a daughter welcome.

‘Threshold’ is taken from Catherine Phil MacCarthy’s fourth poetry collection, The Invisible Threshold.