Valediction - S. K. Tatiner

I have stripped the house bare
for the developers to wreck
and I can see how much it has aged
behind its curtains and sofas.
The tired and bruised hard woods
 moan under my feet
when I step with care into little rooms
distinguished when empty
not by a Rothko print I chose or a chintz
chair I found in a Trenton thrift store
or by the smell of roasting chicken
but by the particular angle
a window cuts into the sunset
 that tries to burn the earth
in its red path, by the dust circulating
in spirals and swirls. For eighty years,
 this house has shaped the light
and placed itself between us
and fire and wind. Now all I hear
are its last inhabitants
scratching back and forth aimlessly
on the attic plywood,
like we had all the time in the world.

S. K. Tatiner is a poet who lives in central New Jersey with her husband of 30 + years. When she retired from a not-for-profit member association four years ago, she anticipated a lot of down time, but between poetry and her two-year-old granddaughter, she is busier than ever. Her poems have appeared in Front Porch Review, Artemis, and Lines + Stars, among other publications.