Coming home, it was to be expected. Blame lies
with the wanderer. Drifting sand is incompatible
with good husbandry. Anyway she had 32 minds,
and all she wanted was to be left alone.
After all, it was a long time.
The grass was brown. Whoever it was
taking care of the watering, was not too good.
And that big tree right next to the house
was leaning like an old man, one with a lame leg,
bent like he had a sclerotic spine. Already
it had dropped some branches, and the tiles
on the roof were all askew. Well, that was the first
thing he would have done, get it pruned,
maybe even cut down to the ground.
Or would that disturb her even more, my coming back
here like this, after what seemed two decades,
and like some prima donna, taking over
like I’m the only one who ever knew what there was to do,
making it look like I thought she was irresponsible?
She wasn’t, of course: not with all those ways
about her, her handling of people as though
they were suitors. And everything calm
and clean as when he had left, she just sat there,
regal as a queen, first making believe she didn’t know
who he was. But that was her sense of humor,
sarcastic-like, just as it had been before he left.
Because right away she was giving him orders:
do this, do that, and settling him in
as though they had never been apart.
And then, when finally, all of the friends,
who even said slyly that they were his,
and were only there to make him feel welcome,
when they eventually left, she merely sat there waiting,
not asking, but waiting, as though one more mind
was not too much for her, waiting for him to tell her
what all that gallivanting was really about.