She sat for a moment
in the living room,
where she had rocked her babies,
in the silence
of the late afternoon.
But the room was not empty.
It was filled with her father,
his loud shoes hitting the floor
his gait unmistakable
on this old hard wood.
He read the newspaper
in that corner over there
and she could see his bright laughing eyes
look over the news of the world
when her mother would call from the kitchen.
Could hear her making dinner
and a sister run through the house
and a screen door slam.
Now it was without the chatter
of the boys she raised here;
the thundering down the stairs
the bounce of the swollen door when they hit that last step
and came bounding into the dining room.
No yelling outside,
across the yard or down the driveway
where they raced their bicycles
or learned to drive the tractor.
Things were different here
but still the same.
She would never be alone with all the history that remained.
In a short time
the granddaughters would be returning
from their expedition
to the familiar bridge and tiny creek that runs through the field.
They would burst loudly through the door
as all the generations of children before them
and head for the kitchen
where someone that loves them
would make them a late afternoon snack.
How many hungry mouths
had that kitchen fed?
How many hungry hearts
that house had nurtured and led
and loved . . .
watched them grow and learn and thrive,
like the ancient flower beds that surround the grounds.
She tended them faithfully,
remembering the mothers who had served here before her.
Cover image by Sarah Miller.