The house is silent.
The children asleep.
The kitchen empty.
The light above the stove welcomes me home,
even here, in this new house, still a stranger.
My mother’s bedroom
with the man who was first my classmate
is upstairs, with dark sheets,
overlooking the bay.
The kitchen counters, the floors, even the table
Whispering to me
and later at 27
and before at 13 and 11
and even now at 52
in my own hushed and tidied kitchen
sixteen years after we slept in the space where her table stood
on the night she took her last breaths…
All is well.
She is sober.