as she closes the door on those empty rooms,
leaves the house for the final time.
She knows how addicts feel
when they go cold turkey,
not daring to look back.
She’s starting a new life
but the highs aren’t guaranteed.
She grew up in that house.
People died all around her
but her life held firm,
set down stakeholders
from knitted tea-cozies
to photographs on mantels.
Yes, these things are coming with her.
But without that sense of belonging,
they’re merely trifles,
as welcome in her new place
as they would be in a trash can.
Her new abode is smaller of course,
It’s an apartment.
It looks to her like a prison
with so many men and women her age
locked in their modest cells.
There’s a rec room on the first floor
where they all can get to know each other
over cups of tea and canasta.
But, in her cramped quarters,
she’ll hardly even know herself.
It’ll be strangers meeting strangers,
all regretting how strange that is.
John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident, recently published in Orbis, Dalhousie Review and Connecticut River Review. Latest book, “Leaves On Pages” is available through Amazon.