Several pinecones hanging from a branch with covered in short green pine needles.

The house will go soon to someone
who may not know it needs its gutters
cleaned in autumn, the fescue cut in June
before it grows thigh-high. Someone new
will rake a million pine needles twice every
summer, thousands of pinecones, roll
them, load after load, to the burn pile out
back. Someone new will open the windows
wide in mid-July, set the fan on high, scurry
the mice from the garage, spiders from
the closets, from under the beds. We’ll leave
our memories in the corners, beneath
the stairs, places where dust collects—
an errant gray hair, flakes of skin rubbed
into the slatted floor or spun invisibly into
a web slung from the vaulted ceiling.
It’s not that bad—leaving—a freedom,
we tell ourselves. We’ll still be happy, have
the moon, each other, for some number
of years. There’ll be days when the drift
of pine scent will find us, the staccato beat
of the red-tailed flicker tap-tap-tapping.


Photo by Alby Headrick, used and adapted under CC.