With visions of bright, fresh beginnings
held close in my heart,
I drove to visit a landmark.
I knew what I hoped.
I knew what I feared.
But in the end, I had to go.
I had to see,
Despite the chill of intuition
Prompted by all you had left unsaid
In the passing of this long year.
Still, I expected to see a modest Phoenix
Arisen from the ashes.
My heart pounded harder and faster
Than on the first day I drove down this block.
Then, as now, I missed the house
And had to turn around,
And then, heartsick, I saw.
Between two neat homes
Rooted deeply in their parcels of land,
There were no trees to be seen:
No garden wall, no cobbled drive.
No cars, no cats, no trace of life,
No house: just a level patch of prairie land,
Dust swirling around a “For Sale” sign
On a post hammered into the barren earth,
Swaying forlornly in the brisk autumn wind.
What I knew and loved was gone.
Despite its firm presence in memory,
Had it ever really existed?
Was it all a dream?
That sweet little house,
Dwarfed by sentinel evergreens –
The cobbled drive and garden wall –
The lady who smiled
A warm greeting to me –
You, calling, “Hey!”
As you strolled down the drive to meet me –
The sun, warm and kind, embracing us all.
The day and place are fixed in my mind,
As fresh as if it were yesterday,
Though two years have passed.
The lady has journeyed
To a far-off heaven,
And you to forge a new life for yourself.
What was, will never be again.
I grieve for the loss, and I must ask:
© C.P. Warner
What now, my friend?
7 October 2012