Five Years

David Colodney



In five years, life will be so different, won’t it be, honey?

The kids will be off to college,

and this house will

echo only with our talking

louder to one another

as our hearing fails

slowly. We’ll turn into the Costanzas,

yelling even when we whisper.



And the stairs to the second-floor bedrooms?

You know the hundreds of times you wiped clean the sky blue walls

from the black fingerprints, you scrubbing clear

the imprints where Adam, Jakob and Matt

used the wall instead of the bannister?

We could tell whose fingers the prints belonged

to by the height of the mark

and when the boys are gone,

I’m afraid you’ll hold a rag out

looking to clean the stains

that aren’t there, and you’ll be lost,

wondering what to do next.



And when that happens,

we’ll cry but we’ll laugh, too,




then maybe send each of them a text saying “hi”

or even a

“your parents miss you.”

They won’t think it’s too corny,

they’re good boys,

and maybe they’ll miss us, too.



In five years we’ll be marking the calendar

with black x’s in broken crayon until the next long weekend,

the next semester break,

when we think they might come home

(if they don’t have better plans)

and we’ll make sure we have all their

favorite foods. You’ll make empanadas;

I’ll grill burgers and maybe we’ll all share a beer

when they tell us they’re now vegetarians.



But until then, this place will be really quiet.

And when the house gets hot in late afternoon,

I’ll count the sun rays blinding me in the living room

as I read O’Hara or Ginsberg,

wishing you and me and the boys were young again,

I’ll set the book in my lap and close my eyes

as I wait for you to come home,

so we can maybe take a bath and whisk

the quiet to the woods out back

where it can calm the nerves

of the buzzing crickets

and we’ll be able to hear ourselves

flirt again

like we did

when we were young.