HOUSEHOLD

 

The morning’s mission fresh paint
for a window and one shabby door—
fishing out the old paint trays,
a roller cover I can use again and pitch,
the brush we always prized for edging—
winking at the jars of unidentifiable
bits of hardware; shoeboxes filled
with electrical relics, tape, tubing,
drapery hooks; aging tools in multiples,
shelved cans of paint a mausoleum
of decorator colors archived for all time.

You were eager to set up the shop
when we moved in, and just opposite,
a sewing room for me—the two of us
working in tandem as we made a home:
my learning to use WD40 on sticky
windows, Epoxy for the definitive fix,
how to prep walls for paint or paper—
the professor in you irrepressible,
extolling the virtues of a Dremel kit,
your new cordless drill—me keen on
running up curtains for you to hang—
the yin and yang of married life,
and my world larger with you in it.

Cocooned within these silent rooms,
somewhere between then and now,
I hold fast to what you’ve given me:
the better part of your life, children
who do us proud, unassailable security—
the outcome of that fateful blind date:
seeing you engrossed in a maze of electronics
as attractive to me as your coltish charm.
Those final, dismal weeks when you could
barely support your own weight,
I grappled with having to pick up what
you had always carried—and carry on
somehow in a house with you gone.

I keep busy. I still like taking a brush
to woodwork with a care to truant beads
of paint—holidays you called them—
maintaining the household in ways
you would approve. I would show you
that flush of daffodils and forsythia bursting
into bloom, hellebores I’ve tucked into a shady
corner, the trillium and epimedium unfurling.
We could stroll through the gardens or sit
side by side like an old married couple
and reminisce about our getaways to Paris,
vacationing on Grand Cayman Island
where we would lie on the beach at sunset
just to see the sky ignite. We’d reflect
on our lives and agree we hadn’t done
too badly after all, content to idle away
a spring morning and watch the birds
feather their nests in the dappled sunlight.

 

 

Linda M. Fischer has poems published or forthcoming in the Aurorean, Muddy River Poetry Review, Poetry East, Potomac Review, Roanoke Review, Schuylkill Valley Journal, Wilderness House Literary Review, Worcester Review, and elsewhere.

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