POEM WITH NO FORWARDING ADDRESS
They left without warning, no note taped
to a mirror, no trace or teaser. No lipstick
marks, sealed an envelope. With boarded up
windows like the soul of it gone astray—
like a dog lost from home.
At a moment’s notice—
Pizza crust left on the counter.
Dust balls on the sills. Mice eating the mattress offal.
An emptiness where there was a banter of life—
—music, doorbells, loud hammers.
A couple arguing in a new language,
then making up all night. The smell of eggs cooking
at dawn. The children groggy from sleep, awaken to finish
their homework. Pencils tapping syllables into place.
Hats hung on a hook, the fire crackling in the stove.
A drawer of mittens and gloves.
Winter snow boots waiting to make tracks.
Why must we practice leaving and loss?—
The tender missives on the refrigerator door—
Family snapshots, quotes, buttons, magnets.
Simple objects that tell us where we live, who we are.
Home, where we take the stones out of our shoes.