here at his parents’ house
the first time in years
there’s the door
so where is he
how many times did it open hard and sudden
– it always sticks –
and he enter
red-nosed from the chill and
cartoon villain creeping across the room
threaten to put his cold hands on my neck

the press of the feel of his nose on my cheek

in my usual seat tonight
on the left
on the loveseat
so where is he
in his red wool plaid
leaned forward absorbed in the television
and pouring the last of the can of Coke
into the glass settled onto the coaster
absently allowing me to tunnel my feet across his lap
and burrow down and drowse
to the sounds of the game

my mind goes off, a shotgun of dead-ends, desperately seeking distraction

at the table and holding up keeping on
until the unspoken presses down hard
draws me out the door
to stand on the deck
strong solid and fine under my feet
still straight as a plumb line
he built it long ago
a gift to his folks, his labor of love
so where is he
not out here running down the ramp
not down at the creek whacking at a dead tree
– of course he chose the ax over the chainsaw –
not at the burn pile managing his two enthusiastic helpers
who were not so much help
but were and are so much his

the trees, their long shadows bare and solemn, they seem so solemn

the truth is
he is
to everywhere
nowhere to be found

this is a sweet hell


About Vicki Caroline Cheatwood

Writerly. Rebooting. Evolving. Searching for great chicken salad.
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2 Responses to Here

  1. Michael Gaffney says:

    I know that house so well. I am right there with you too. Beautiful poetry. Xo

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