Years ago, I left this house, ran from everything in it, my dad’s last words repeating themselves on a loop in my mind, the funeral over so all I had to do was lock the door to my childhood home and flee, I thought, forever. Though he had left it to me, how could I walk the same halls he and Mom, gone just two years before, had walked since my birth? How could I sit at the same table where the three of us ate together? How could I? How could I?
Yesterday, the tenth anniversary of Dad’s death dawned gray in my married home. I looked at my husband, whispered, “I can go back.”
He hugged me and said, “Go.” I drove the hundred miles from our small town to the countryside where I grew up, memories making their way back mile by mile.
Now in the still house, the creak of the closet door rings and lingers where once language and laughter filled the kitchen. Inside, I dig through musty shirts, jackets, and hats Dad wore over seasons as he chopped wood, trimmed plants, and shoveled snow to keep us connected with friends and neighbors. I search until I find it--the broom. Bringing it out, I gaze back at my path taken today from entryway to closet.
Such a long, slow journey to return here, I marvel at the familiar books calling my name and the handsome grandfather clock striking the hour. My steps had left footprints in the settling dust of ten years, so I began to sweep.
Broom bristles leave a series of lines and patterns. I sweep again and again to clean every inch. The swishing has a rhythm, and I find myself humming a tune. After what seems but a minute, the dust disappears; no longer do I see my footprints on the floor.
I return to the closet, open the door once more. The creak still startles, no longer lingers.
Anjali Pursai was accepted into the prestigious workshop devoted to poetry, Poetry Power in the San Francisco Bay Area, taught by an award winning poet. Since that time, she has earned several publications, such as Chautauqua Literary Magazine in New York, and awards, such as the National League of American Pen Women. She has also been invited to read her work aloud at a number of well-known Bay Area locations, such as the Koret Auditorium at the Main Branch of the San Francisco Library. She finds herself more and more enthusiastic about the art of poetry, both writing and reading it aloud or to herself.
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