Your Formica countertop was a wonder,
a well-wiped surface that gleamed.
Clear in my memory,
the chosen color - burnt brown –
like Wonder Bread dipped
in warm waxen chocolate.
This one token
heaped on others remains
tucked in my mind
of your ever-ordered household.
Every easy fold,
every towel regiment on display
lined in linen closets,
exact as rulers,
silent, without voice,
What laughter lapped the edges
of your house dress,
a pool of mirth we waded through,
bright merriment that flowed
played gatherer for so many.
Your delicate ear could hear a teenager,
know her world-shaken words lost in the common,
share her nascent worries,
understand such thought strains
lost to the wise.
One single form cast
from the center spun
and this long day the model broken.
Figure and image familiar,
your likeness now a
silent shell over which we mourn.
Your uncertain step,
firm for your family if not always in fact,
is on and elsewhere,
firmer now and surer,
blazing paths we will follow.