NEVER THE SAME
After thirty-seven years, I can’t find words,
as if snow still sparkles the wood stack
and blue-green flashes in the Northern sky.
I search for the duplex on Fairbanks Street,
the house where we lived that first year
of our marriage, the year our monastic
lives folded into one. I drive several times
to the corner and back, an unfamiliar world
so I look for old landmarks: the row
of apartments across the street, wide
spaces between homes that seemed
a long walk to the mailbox, the two-lane
street, now four, fields where new homes
stand. Old firs surround the yard obscuring
the once-white clapboard, repainted
somber brown. Certain memories
seem precise: the bay window, the short
steps to the front door where you carried me
over the threshold. I wonder if
the fireplace still brightens on cold winter
nights, if holiday lights glow from the wide
front window, if the kitchen steams
from sourdough bread and wild blueberry
jam. Shutters and chimney seem
the same, the two-car garage on the left
where chopped wood may still be thawed.
I drive to the end of the block to a dirt road
we often walked before noon, the sun shining
through mist where the world spins away
from its light. The house, smaller, forsaken.
Kay Mullen has authored two full-length collections of poetry, A Long Remembering: Return to Vietnam (2006) and Let Morning Begin (2001). Her work has appeared in various literary journals and anthologies.