Eight hours after leaving home, I arrive,
collect the keys from a neighbor.
She offers to come with me.
I want to go alone.


The lock gives easily. I expected 
resistance. The room is neat,
unchanged from that day, one
week before the world closed down

when we loaded her, her clothes,
her cat into my brother’s truck. She didn’t
want to go, but we knew, she knew,  
she couldn’t stay, to fall again.

Piles of the Washington Post, 
the New Yorker, still linger on the table 
beside her favorite chair. A Who’s Who
of poets  stacked up on every surface,

all the names she introduced me to—
Linda Pastan, Eavan Boland, Marie Ponsot, 
Galway Kinnell, Denise Levertov—
her subjects, my guides.

I thought I’d feel her here, in her home,
where she never stopped wanting to be.
I thought I’d hear her spirit calling out from
every book, every painting on her walls.

I hear nothing. When I turn out the lights,
no ghost disturbs my sleep.