What is there to love
In orange carpeted stairs,
In heat of summer sun and air unconditioned,
In front-porch bricks callousing bare toes?
This is the drawer that always held the donuts,
This the dry summer grass where we drove the lawn mower,
And here the ice cream machine whirred and rumbled–
Creating cool sweetness for waiting lips.
What is there to miss
In a bathtub with no shower,
In mosquitoes swarming through torn screen at night,
In fighting over the covers as crickets sang their lullaby?
This is the banister where we hung our towels,
These the steps where we sat to watch the Amish riding by,
And here the little shelves that held the knick-knacks–
Inspiration for stories told on long hot summer nights.
What is there to grieve
In a back porch full of borrowed Barbies,
In Grandma’s nebulizer singing its morning wake-up to her lungs,
In waking on the hide-a-bed to the smell of coffee brewing?
This is where the back door key was hidden,
This where the table with the candy dish should be,
And here where all the memories hung–
Now boxed up, moved for the best, sold to another.
What is there to mourn
In the place where the green recliner sat,
In mantel devoid of Hummel figurines,
In long hardwood hallway deprived of the rug always there before?
This is where we came in for late-night hugs after long, long drives,
This is where Grandpa watched the weather channel,
Here the oven where years of meals and desserts baked–
Grandma’s love in consumable form.
Just the fragments of a childhood full of memories–
Summers and Christmases and long tired drives to reach happiness–
Grandpa watching the weather channel in his old recliner,
Grandma fussing in the kitchen.
Put the sign in its yard, box the dishes and the pictures and the pieces of years well spent.
Move near a son, where you are safe and cared for.
And yet I am homesick.