That rainy day in February when we stepped
Into the strange house and looked out
Across the valley, we knew we were home.
Of course we weren’t. The empty rooms still spoke
Of other lives and dreams, and so much lay
Before us, a map of uncertainty
Framed in wood and glass and hung on desire,
The tenuous hook of ourselves laid bare
And offered up as if a sacrifice
To strangers who only counted coin,
A foreign language of counter-offer,
Escrow, inspection, title, deed, and key.
And yesterday? When we looked out across
The familiar valley and spoke, it was
About the tenacious hooks of home.
We spoke about your mother, my father,
Stairs, infirmity, uncertainty,
And loss. You said you couldn’t call this house home
Without me were I to go before you
[As I almost surely will]. I’ve thought of that,
Too, when you’ve been gone a day. We rattle
Through empty, unfamiliar rooms, the house
Gone strange again, just a frame, the scaffold
For the home we’ve long settled in our hearts.
The original version of this poem was first published on day 28 of the Writer’s Digest April Poem-a-Day Challenge (www.writersdigest.com/whats-new/2014-april-pad-challenge-day-28). It’s an honor to have it selected as one of the top ten poems of the day by judges Robert Lee Brewer (editor of the blog) and guest judge Sandra Beasley.