In the mornings, when the only thing the world is
he walks demanding the obedience of the floor
boards respecting the weight of his force. He packs
bags, checks thermostats and drafts. The necessary
is unavoidable, absolutely necessary to leave. Again,
He does not kiss us goodbye. He does not need
to express the need to be close to us. He commands
our respect. He commands the honor we give him.
Requests for example, for us to come when he says “Come!”
things that must be done: shoes for the youngest—hair ties
clothes; the oldest needs clothes, the middle his father. buy
food in bulk for month. Snip coupons we never use. our lives
a mood he passes through, used to give order. we think her weak sometimes as
she closes doors behind him. we think her strong because she opens them again.
it is vital, she says, that you understand Please and Thank you. it is essential
she says, to know what is necessary: forgiveness, silence in the presence
of grace, laughter in the air of absence. these are the things she
needs us to know. yes sir. no ma’am. welcome home, and could
you please close the door.