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February 19, 2024

Last Visit to the House I Called Home

By Terry Petersen

Dust encases the old homestead.
Encyclopedias from 1963,
boxes of unused pencils,

skeins of yarn with faded fifty-cent
mark-down stickers,
a broken clock.

Most of the saved items are gone,
Dumpster and shredder items wait.
Bags of cancelled checks

on Mom's closed account.
She died years ago.
Dad's will to maintain dissolved, too.

In the back yard his loss leaked
into the naked, open space
leaving it flat, withered.

Before the property grew sullen,
I planted seeds for annuals that sprouted into
a tiny-stemmed miniature garden.

They dwarfed next to tomato vines
Dad tied to hand-cut posts.
Sunlight coaxed

white blossoms into green and then red fruit.
Inside the house Mom made soups that
took all day to blend the chicken

with onions, carrots, celery
into a fragrance that filled every nook.
I try to recall an ancient, lingering scent

but it was taken for granted
too long ago. I find my wedding gown
in an eaves closet,

zipped in plastic.
I had changed my name and moved on.
The yellowed department-store receipt

remains attached to the wire hanger.
I wipe off the grime and carry what-was-me
into what-is-me now.

The door locks for the last time.
The sun leaves a sliver of itself
on a pink horizon,

a color beyond reach,
like memories, both dark and light,
locked inside things left behind.

Article © Terry Petersen. All rights reserved.
Published on 2016-08-22
Image(s) © Terry Petersen. All rights reserved.
2 Reader Comments
01:50:11 AM
All is well...peace.
Daniel Hustmyer
03:44:10 AM
This makes me think of when I was a kid and Mom spent days in the kitchen canning garden vegetables. Or when she made chicken and dumplings from scratch.
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