DUTY CALL



If I walk down the hallway, The path leading to your room, The same way you walked when you were here, I will see the remnants of your life, Ashtray at the ready for your habit, Bedclothes jostled as if you just left.

I will step over boots and shirts and other things That speak your name without speaking. As the light goes on and I hear the fan’s slow hum, I will not expect to see you there, Although I feel your presence. You packed your bag, then you were gone.

I held the door for you And watched you as you walked across the street. You went one way, I the other. I didn’t have the strength to see you go But I have the strength to wait for your return. Funny how I know you will come home.

I went down the hall this morning. I rearranged your bed and straightened your clothing. The ashtrays are empty and cleaned for your next draw. The fan is off. No use to run it when you cannot hear its song. I have the door unlocked In case you come home while I’m sleeping.



Mindy Phillips Lawrence

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