True Abandon
Gretchen Steele Pratt

This is how you must leave –

The phone off its hook, piano lid open, fall board up – the shawl across the bench. Sheet music goes without saying – spread across the rack.

The one crystal already fallen from the chandelier, let it alone. Let the crucifix hang, the bath full and warm and clouded with scent.

The bottles, all the bottles from last night on the counter, and my dear, your purse on the table in the foyer, the child’s pram on the back porch.

Butter scalloped on the counter and yes, all the silver.

The side by side undoneness of beds, twisted linens, pillows unshaken.

The sheer white drapes of the nursery drawn, the child’s orange dress hung on the door, her paints, glistening in each little well.

The portraits in the stairwell, that one already crooked – the wedding at the white hotel – don’t touch it. The papers in the safe – forget the combination.

Milk bottles by the door, the mousetrap sprung, the garden hose stiff with water.

What will they know of you? Your time here? That you often stood by a window watching wind cross the fields.

Nothing to be embarrassed about – the dust is always falling.