After years of empty chairs,
messy drawers, unmade beds
and not caring about leaky faucets
or good food, he finds himself here,
on her back stoop, with his hands
in his pockets. He smells the sharp brine

of her pickling and listens

to the syncopated measure
of her steps across the kitchen floor.
He’s never known a house
without sadness…only ones
where carpet stains were sins
and the tribe was always at war.

She’s caught sight of him
and comes out to takes his arm
for a tour of her herb garden. The mint
he knows by scent and from the others,
basil, dill, garlic and lemon balm, 
she pinches a bit of each for him to taste.
He watches her mouth when she chews
a morsel of ginger. 

Tomorrow he means to go 
out the door without looking back.
But she says don’t worry,
it’s ok to feel good and he follows her
to the porch where his shirt is 
on the line and a hen is
in a nesting box next to a basket
of eggplant. She’s in an apron
of sunflowers bent toward the sun