At the top of the stairs I reach

My hand, flat on the painted wall.
He is not there, I say to myself
about the boy who used to live on the other side.
He is grown now. Moved.

I feel the years under my palm,
sliding along the wall as I start
And she is not there, glancing across the hall.
And now he is not.
The door at the other end is shut
because he is not in.
He has gone

Here is the hallway where I sat on the floor
the book on my knees
my back against the wall
and every room holding a listening child
in pajamas
at night.
Huck Finn, one time. Odd silence no reaction
until she burst out at last
"He's such a liar!"
Yes, he is. That boy's a liar. She figured the liar

Games they got for birthdays and Christmases
are in the closet behind me
and Klutz books in that cabinet there.
I think we've lost a state from the USA puzzle.
Kentucky, I think. Kentucky fell

I know - because I looked - those drawers
contain a lot of things, but mostly photos
and crayons, pencils, markers, erasers, paints and brushes
ways to make the pictures
and the words and keep the light
from going

Each one all grown.
My house that once held Uncle Art and where
Aunt Nita died. In my room, I think. But only once
her work was done. Her brother Mel had already gone

I know, H.D. I know. The wall do not fall
the body lives
the Palimpsest is written again and again
and in my wall
in this hall
the writers have gone

I feel them
in the palm
of my hand.

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