We have sorted through cupboards,
filled boxes with sweaters still pungent with mothballs
winter coats redolent with musty wool and lavender.
Discarded the cookie tins silted with crumbs,
bottles murky with the last bit of hopeful syrup,
broken teacups, loose buttons,
errant lengths of string, mildewed books
the yellowed pages of twenty year old grocery lists.
Packed plates, the mismatched silverware,
sheets and pillowcases folded into envelopes of linen.
In the new wideness
the walls seem white as morning, And I think
as I move the last crate to its leaving place
So this is breathing, is it—
this quick intake of air,
and how the space between each heartbeat
is the small quiet of an empty room. Now begins
the slow two step towards winter,
already ice softly patterns the glass,
birds are dark crumbs in the frosted yard.
Today is a certain color, a sweet ribbon of gold
along the treeline, a last reprieve of leaves.
On the small rug of burgundy and green there
are your shoes, twin boats of a reclusive shade of red,
the shade of overripe berries or dusky wine,
resting their emptiness
against each other by the door.
-- Lisa McIvor