Just home from work, I struggle through the door
and shove the two dimwitted bounding dogs
(a tad impatient for their walk) aside.
I toss my car keys toward the couch, and watch
as they land short and skitter past the desk.
I slap the phone machine and head for sweats
and comfortable shoes (and leave a trail
of earrings and high heels; yes, yes, a plot
to drive men mad). But down the hall, I hear
your voice -- reluctant, sad? It slows me, stops
me, and I turn an ear back to the phone.
"Hey hon, so sorry I am leaving this
on your machine. I thought you'd want to know,
Rick died last night. He was at home, at peace...
But anyway, the service is at six,
this Friday, Bachman's Home, I hope you'll come."
Barefoot, I lean against the hallway wall.
Thank god for yet another "peaceful" death.
I guess the past eight months of bed and drugs
just didn't count for much. His life was hell,
but hey, he did that death thing really well.
I bend to get my shoes and wonder when
I'll cry this time -- some time that makes no sense,
I'm just so sure. Why yes, perhaps this time,
six months from now, I'll lose it at the mall,
and mortify some fumbling teenage clerk.
I stand, my shoes in hand, just trying to
remember where it was I put my shoes.
You know, there was a day when you would not
have left that message on my phone machine.
You would have sat, determined, in your house,
so diligent with that long list of names,
and yes, you would have called until you found
me home. And yet, my dear, I know. I know.
That was so very many lists ago.
Copyright © 1995 Claire A. Schaeffer