Arriving in New York for My Grandfather’s Funeral

Alison Doernberg


We have unlatched

a house where no one lives.

The walls, like spines

of library volumes, softened by time.

Back home, no salt lines ribbon across the toes

of my boots and I cannot untangle

where loss resides –

in the ache of the empty kitchen chair,

the calendar page unturned,

the tired linoleum.

My parents asleep in the snakeskin

of his bed, cocooned in vacancy,

the next in line.

The rafters sigh, but cannot mend. And soon

the blanket edges will hold the scent

of someone else’s skin.




Copyright © 2009 Switchback
All works property of their respective owners