Alone, driving down a country road
close to what was home, I hear my mother’s voice.
I see her hand point to each farmhouse and lane.
She tells me who lived where when she was a girl.
But all I hear are general tones,
because the words have gone.
Farm fields stretch on like urban blight inner city blocks
strained to their breaking. Two miles to the next corner.
Right, then five miles more. Turn upon turn of absence.
The bleached white bones of loss lie scattered, unclaimed.
The car rattles up its lane to the familiar cedar shingled frame.
Park inside the old shed, it’s soul wrapped in metal.
Dad drove every nail. The barn, the shop
all in dust and disarray of the last days
which lasted for years.
I walk in the house, set the keys on the table.
No need to say I’m home for the ghosts all know,
glide around in whispers.
Open the fridge, pour a glass of milk.
Ten leftover containers seethe with curdled discontent.
Shut the door.
Sit for hours
and watch the faces on the walls
drift back deeper.