Our towering fir trees, when babies,
received delicate nurturing
like my children who fed them.
Our lopsided driveway
became a sledding slope for the Red Flyer
on days the school busses conceded
to the slippery hills; we needed tire chains
to reach the German bakery near the church
where we braved the snow for morning mass.
Our carport-gazebo came alive,
once every summer, with the stereo sounds
of big bands and the smell of wet earth
from its hosing by my daughters
before they donned matching middy blouses
and settled down with glasses of Pepsi
to welcome my club members.
People wonder why I keep the house
since I’m hardly ever here.
Appraisers would measure square footage,
look for cracks.
I hear the carols sung in three-part harmony
at the end of our annual Christmas pageant.
I see a wobbly roller skater grasp
a basement pole for security
before careening past the outdoor furniture
that shared space with my hanging laundry.
I smell our homemade doughnuts
waiting for the Halloween onslaught.
They tell me to sell the house
but the ghosts wandering in and out
from the patio whisper:
Wait just a little longer.
Twenty years of staring back at me
in a row of remembrance —
high and low heels
in hues of shiny black, alligator brown,
subtle red, with feel of soft suede,
supple leather, easy canvas —
have stood at the ready.
You wore them to work, to party,
to wait for the doctor,
slipping easily in and out of personas,
trading serious grey flats
for flamboyant fuchsia boots;
you were comfortable and confident
until you weren’t.
You left me without warning, too fast
for my heart to absorb, my brain to contain,
my eyes to adjust
to the sight of your absence.
With a last heave of your unconscious chest,
you were ripped from me
leaving behind unsaid goodbyes, pain
like my arm torn from its socket,
and empty shoes to fill.
I must dispose of them I tell myself,
and I close the closet door
Blessings in Disguise
Morning mist amid urban mountains
merges water, sky, earth
into shades of gray, brown, beige —
the black and white movie I became
when we parted.
Sun breaks through city fog,
when three red roses
come knocking at my door.
In the large room damp expressions
meet my efforts to ignite the world,
brick walls of polite disregard
douse my fire.
Afterward, elevator conversation
and a stranger’s easy smile
pour energy into my empty glass.
Flying through time
watching midday glare firework the Earth below
I search for light in my darkness.
The little boy squirms toward me
offers peanuts and a picture book
when the student is ready the teacher will appear.
© Eileen Trauth
Eileen Trauth is a poet, playwright, and author. As a college professor for many years, she published several nonfiction books. Her poetry appears in The Boston Poet, Braided Way, Common Threads, Conversations, For A Better World, InsideOut, Marriage Lifespan, PoetryXHunger, Sheila-Na-Gig, and Within Us. Eileen is a member of the Greater Cincinnati Writers League and the Ohio Poetry Association. She lives in Cincinnati, Ohio. www.eileentrauth.com.