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23 Madison Avenue

Today, after the cable is disconnected

and the phone line is cut, after

the electricity bill goes unpaid, this

is what is left behind: rusted

frying pans, ceramic mugs, winter coats,

all 27 years boxed and taped

while the wedding dress hangs

untouched in the closet, the lace stretched

over the front like a web.

Since my mother stopped wearing the ring

we don’t speak of him.

We don’t speak of the mice

dying in the walls, the everywhere smell

of rat poison and rot.

Maybe today no rot—

only rooms of undying. Only rooms

of open windows and light, so that maybe today

this can be the house I grew up in:

the ceilings will patch themselves up,

the windows will unbreak

and open themselves to the yard,

which will tame its wild forest of bushes

and weeds. The fence pulls itself back up

and this house, now another,

on Main across the church,

on Cedar by the pier, blooms

yards of perennials and trimmed grass,

pathways of measured brick, the door—

open and familiar—greeting us

as though we never left anything behind.

from ErouFind more by Maya Phillips at the library

Copyright © 2019 Maya Phillips
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, LLC on behalf of Four Way Books.

Published in Maya Phillips Poems

This program is supported in part by a grant from the Idaho Humanities Council, a State-based program of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this (publication, website, exhibit, etc.) do not necessarily represent those of the Idaho Humanities Council or the National Endowment for the Humanities.