Front step broken,
front door deeply cracked,
generations of paint.
Scratches around the keyhole,
fingerprints around the knob.
On the hall table a notebook
kept by the children:
lists of the birds that came,
drawings of themselves
playing in the snow.
A little too much furniture:
rickety tables, soft chairs,
iron plant stands that once held potted ferns.
A battered dresser with crockery not chipped enough to toss,
a few old letters, knick-knackery, a blotted book.
Behind the tattered draperies, on the walls,
crayoned drawings the children made:
snowmen and cats and sleeping dogs,
the smiling sun shining on a cottage
with its red roof, ascending smoke.
March 12, 2007