Going Back To Clean The House
Afternoon waits the whole day for an angle it can use
to pry light into an empty room,
and I move through the rays with a broom,
straw against the floor,
kicking up dust,
my boots irregular, the sound of work.
In the snow your neat footprints lead away from the house
heel to toe, heel to toe, and they recall
not a face but a gait, a way of gesturing
with the body toward a destination.
From a whorl in the tread
at the ball of the foot
I infer also the boots' black laces;
I saw you tie them tightly this morning
but by afternoon the low sun has relaxed
the prints; your neat gait is imprecise,
sloppy in your absence.
Ah, I hate all this leaving. I remember my first keys
where adulthood began, chiming in my pockets, those little bells
carried like a bright little xylophone,
each intimate with a particular lock,
each singing about home and work
to anyone listening there.