I scan the room for a big brother’s hoodied slouch
or the hard-faced stare of an older sister
with pouting fuchsia lips and bleached-taffy hair.
But it’s just us.
He speaks in Italian—keen, wheeling words
she tenders in echo. Each syllable dwindles
October’s losses, mesmerizes as her English cannot,
and she grins when he casts the remembered spell,
chants, plucks a quarter from behind her ear
Tomorrow they will leave;
already the scouts are searching.
This old queen has gathered her followers,
split from the hive and its new queen,
making the fraught commitment
to an unknown home.