Photo: Randen Pederson, Creative Commons

The Way There

You have traveled for years.
When the plane lands, you climb in a train
and ride as far a sit will go.
You leave the station and begin to run,
slowing to a walk when you can no longer breathe,
stepping over rocks and passing under trees,
looking up through trembling leaves.
When your legs shake and you finally stop to rest
you begin to notice how red the ants are,
and twist the roughness of a stick in your fingers.
The ground smells like dirt.
Then you straighten up and see the house
balanced on a crooked hill.
You sit in the porch swing,
running your hands over wood work grey from weather and touching.
There is the harmonica he sucked on,
its silver polish almost all worn off,
a little rust on the B-flat hole.
When you look in through the uneven glass of the window,
you see the chair where she sat,
ordering the colors of a quilt
with small, sober stitches.
The quilt is gone, but her work is still here
in the patch of iris and wild violets out back.
The rooms are swept clean.
All they ask is your rusty B-flat,
your creak on the swing.

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