I enter where I lived with you
before leaving — part flail, part sail.
At the door, scent of cat.
Bella panhandles, brazen
hussy-brat, wanting brushing,
where did I go means less
than what takes so long.
Have I left?
My sister’s painting’s over the couch.
I grab it and ditch an outdated Sunset
garden book from the kitchen shelf.
My daughter’s birthday card hangs
over dust where my desk sat.
The kitchen’s three-way switch works 50/50,
rug fringe catches bare feet.
Creek winds blow up hot nights.
I walked naked in nocturnes
never seen from the street
Christmas ornaments I gave you
line up on the mantle — one red pepper,
a glass piano, and six wicked Santas.
Untouchable or too touching?
Stagnant astroemerias and melted candles speak
of a new Valentine at your cherry table.
A rib roast, I figure. With chocolates.
How little changes. You didn’t wash
the table cloth, blobs of blue wax.
Three empty brandy bottles,
belted down with Mahler.
Outside, forsythia bows to rain.
The girl can leave her garden,
my vain hope, garden remembers girl.
The front bed’s slimey brown, floozied,
sad — no new recruit. It comes on without me
where I kneeled for weeds, tai chi,
lemonade. Six hummingbirds
played war over this turf
I thought of as my own
playing witch with garden starts —
dig a slip of aster, bits of hellebore and bee balm.
My gold dog runs the fence,
no melancholy, just foot memory.
The magnolia drips on my glasses..
I whistle. Shaggy girl leaps
from behind the white azalea,
sodden blooms like tissue.
I take with me what I need, mostly.
I leave behind what never moved, mostly.
I lock the door.