On My Return

A Poem by John Grey

It’s not what I expected on my return.
My boyhood home hadn’t changed
one slap of paint, one poster on the wall.
Those left behind felt most comfortable
in nothing ever moving on.
It all was where I left it.
That made the love so much easier.

All the hopes, the promise, the beginnings, were intact.
Even ones that ended badly.
Fingermarks, books in shelves,
old letters in drawers, ceramics on mantles,
even the clock that hadn’t worked in years –
those were the bearings of a life.

Back to such normalcy,
I sat at the table with familiar faces
discussing how life ought to be.

Mother said, we can clean now, varnish,
even move furniture around.
I tried but was of no help
because I could imagine no other house but this.

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