Through dialogue and keen attention to tone and detail, Frost paints a haunting portrait of the effects of losing a child. In this poem, Amy is coming down the stairs when she glances back over her shoulder. Her husband realizes that their young child's grave has caught her eye, as it seems to do often.
The conversation of the couple carries the poem, and it becomes clear that the loss of their child has severed the couple's relationship. While Amy seems completely devastated by the loss, her husband's urge is to put the child in their past and move on in the present. They are grieving in very different ways, and neither one is sure how to cope with the other. It seems that Amy is grieving with others, and her husband wants her to talk to him instead:
Don't carry it to someone else this time.
Tell me about it if it's something human.
Let me into your grief. I'm not so much
Unlike other folks as your standing there
Apart would make me out.
Amy just wants to escape from her husband and this scene. She has been carrying anger within her from the day her husband dug their baby's grave and the seemingly casual conversation he had immediately after.
The loss the couple has faced has illuminated several key differences in the individuals they are. Amy thinks her husband doesn't care enough while he tells her, "I do think, though, you overdo it a little."
The poem ends uncertainly. Amy is opening the door to leave, and her husband is threatening to follow her and bring her back "by force." Does she leave? Does he follow? Is this the end of their relationship? Will they find a way to cope with the loss? None of these questions are answered in the end.