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
like we did
when we were young.