I will miss those tired pines that catch the sunlight
And pour it down to earth in golden stairwells,
To the empty streets where Mrs. Coleman walked alone,
Her husband having left her years ago.
I will miss the barking from behind the rusty fences,
The tiptoeing cats leering from behind a tire,
The human faces peering down from porches as I pass,
Dodging divots of asphalt broken by the years of traffic,
My bike swerving and creaking across the cracks.
I will miss the gnat-haloed streetlights kind enough to ignore
My sneaking home in early morning,
My neighbors’ rotting roofs sagging in the sadness of dawn
Like an old woman’s shoulders. Goodbye, too,
The house, an eyesore now, where my friend’s daughter was born,
Her long since grown now, and the house forgotten,
Bittercress where flowers used to grow, bushes browning in blight,
The slow and silent, flaking death of paint,
Dying and fading like memory does, until it just hangs on
In splotches of white against bare forgotten shingles.
From the highway, as I drive away, I pass the falling barns,
Leaning impossibly against the moon,
Fighting oblivion and gravity and regret
With fierce but doomed determination.
What should I tell the buyer about the ghosts?
Full disclosure of haunting spirits that emanate from memory?
Sign here to acknowledge a succession of Labrador retrievers
Baying at distant deer or possums in the woods, or in their minds.
Please know the ghost of my father turns on the tv and chuckles,
Eating popcorn every 2AM then disappears at dawn, like Hamlet’s father,
Without waiting for coffee, or for my questions.
But he was certainly there, Horatio, not in armor, but
In his recliner, his feet raised after a hard day striving, and shaking his head
Now at fictional crimes and punishments of Chicago PD
Or San Francisco vice.
Should I tell the buyer about the sacred space
Where my mother taught my son to read in her lap?
Or would they care?
And should I tell them that the back bedroom is stained
With 6 months of tears,
That paint can never cover the times I nearly died,
Or longed to, with the determination of rust?
How our foundation crumbled in grief and had to be rebuilt,
Brick by brick and stone by stone, to the eternal indifference of the trees.
But soon the locks will change, and movers desecrate it all,
Like bulldozers on an ancient burial ground,
Some 40 years of living covered in new carpets and cabinets,
While the trashmen take yesterday from the curb.