After the Party
On October 23, 2012 | 0 Comments | family, parents, poetry |

It was a whirlwind. It was a weekend that started on a Wednesday. It was my birthday, and the 24th anniversary of our 1st date, and a visit from my parents.

It was meals at favorite restaurants, and being sung the Happy Birthday song, and a new coat.

It was homemade potato chips with gorgonzola dip, German five-grain bread and cheese for breakfast and Asian fusion for dinner, and on Thursday a pork loin with buttered cider sauce that could also be (and was) served over vanilla ice cream for dessert.

It was Everett’s last cross-country meet and fall break. It was a visit to Duke Gardens. It was a threat of rain that never delivered.

It was the late-afternoon departure of Emma for her first-ever youth group retreat. It was the mid-afternoon departure of the boys for a birthday slumber party. It was the late-night arrival of Janke and Betsy, poets.

It was long-standing project-completion and conversations on theology. It was pruning roses and rebuildling the stone wall. It was a walk with my father. It was my mother playing the piano. It was discussion on the sometimes harrowing project that means being published.

It was people sleeping in every conceivable place. It was trying to figure out what to do next based on what everyone else was doing and what absolutely had to happen. It fell short of frenzied, but sometimes not by much, and everybody glad to be here anyway. I’m so grateful for that.

And then it was a poetry reading at The Morning Times that meant words falling each after the other, so quick and deft and sounding that, sitting there, listening, I had no reason to move.

And then everybody went home, and the children came home, and everything is back to normal. I have the folded laundry my mother left me, and the package of photos my father left me, and Betsy’s book.

So this.

After the Party,
There is a Lonely Sound.

Sound of a rowboat knocking emptily
against the dock. Sound of smooth oars banging
loosely against sideboards. Sound of night.
Sound of stars. Sound of blinds zipped down
against the sleeping country. Sound
of lovely. Sound of we’re all going home,
what about you? Sound of thinness
of dimes and the hard snap of butterscotch.
The sound of lapping water makes me want to stay all night long.
Sound of a piano being played upstairs and a small boy’s
blanket of sheet music. Sound of the ceiling
as some sort of possibility. Sound
of I’ll always write to you. Sound of letters
stolen from mailboxes. Sound of waiting.
Sound of eyes wide open. Sound the cello makes.
Sound of the grass in the yard taking on the dew.
Sound of that’s it.
Sound of yes and yes and yes.
— Betsy Wheeler

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