W. D. Ehrhart  


    Each room except the room you're in
is empty. No need to check.
How many times in forty-five years
did you wish for such a silence,
just a moment to collect yourself
amid the chaos of a life too full
with other people's needs?

And now you've got more silence
than you'll ever need, more time
than anyone should ever have
alone, each memory another moment
in a world where time holds
nothing but the past
and someone else's future.

What do you dream of?
What do you fear each time
you turn to hear Dad stirring
and you realize that what you hear
is just the silence of an empty house,
an absence permanent as stone?

Surely such a silence turns
the heart back in upon itself.
Do you find your husband there?
Four sons and four grandchildren?
Some little Brooklyn girl
in pigtails skipping rope
that once was you?

Mother, does it all come down
to empty rooms and half-imagined sounds
of someone familiar? So many hopes
and disappointments make a life.
What were yours? I'd like to know.
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    Copyright © 1999 by W. D. Ehrhart
Beautiful Wreckage, Adastra Press, 1999
This poem currently published in Beautiful Wreckage, New & Selected Poems, Adastra Press, 1999
Copyright © 2011 - W. D. Ehrhart - homepage
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