AS HE LEFT THEM
Gathering dust and spider webs,
They sat there through the years,
Not even lifted to a passing broom.
They occupied the soundless corner
On the age-worn bricks
Of the corner of the living room.
He'd come in from the barn
With that crooked grin she loved,
His hand still clutched around his favorite tool.
He'd sat him in the sunspot,
Brushing brown hair from his brow,
Upon the padded cushion of the stool.
He was muddy from the pasture,
Tired from herding all the angus
Up the planking of the cattle chute.
She'd knelt down there before him
Pulling gently now to help him
With the task of taking off each rubber boot.
He'd laid his hand atop her curls,
Speaking of how much he loved her
Then he bent and kissed her on her brow,
Saying that for just a moment
He thought since he was tired
He would lie and just rest a bit for now.
He stood and pressed her to him
As his lips touched hers so warmly,
Then he went and lay upon their walnut bed.
He did not come for supper
So she let him, quiet, lie
Never knowing by the morning he'd be dead.
And, so, she never moved his boots
Nor yet the old and padded stool,
But left them as they were that final day
When he'd laid his hand atop her curls
And told her how he loved her...
Never knowing it was the last that he would say.
She liked them as he'd left them
And that was more important
Than if some years of dust might settle down.
It was how she lived without him,
Without that brown hair and that grin,
How she floated in the storm and did not drown.
Jo Anzalone Feb. 17, 2007
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