Nearly Empty House

by Denis McGilvray


A path is worn smooth in the hardwood floor, heading out the front door.
The window above the kitchen sink is cracked open, letting in a cool breeze
As stark white clouds pass through the deep blue spring sky.
Further Into the house, a stairway leads up to rooms full of things no one uses.

A man shuts the kitchen window after washing red potatoes for the soup he’s making
And thinks of the shuttered black piano left unplayed in the living room.
The stairs lead up to rooms full of things he no longer uses, except for remembering.
Two black crows flee the pin oak he planted when the house was being built.

Some days, he hears his wife playing the piano; when he looks over, the keys are covered. Staring at the pink azaleas — they’re beginning to fade and wilt in the creeping heat —
He hears the crows come back to the oak that’s now defended by a squawking jay.
Stepping out the back door, he lets warm sunlight fall on his face. Wisps

Of monkey grass edge the garden, growing green again after the icy winter.
More clouds pass across the late afternoon sun, shading his face for a moment.
Three black and white koi converge in the small pond, then one veers away.
Looking back, he finds the path worn smooth in the floor, heading out the front door.