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It was found in the fog that shivered
The slivers of glass in the windows.
It was seen in the sheen of the moon
On the unworn wood of the floor.
It spoke with the slow, patient clutching of light
And tapped out the unknown codes of the flesh,
The indistinct worm of the years and the shapes
Of desire, possession, and fate.
It was mute.

It was stitched in the spaces
Of the wind’s alphabet.
It was clothed in cool hands
Gloved in wet weather.
It appeared on the paths
That admitted no passage.
Its ratchety rhythms
Were all made of matchsticks.
It waited.

Its slashings were tattooed
On drapes of dank velvet.
Its gibbering laughter inserted itself
Between doorway and jamb and continued to carve.
Its snickering plumbing
Rotted the dinner.
They had left, they had left.
Indeed, they had left.
Of that, all their objects could clearly attest.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Casey Klahn July 13, 2018, 7:01 PM

    Very fine.

  • Gordon Scott July 13, 2018, 8:03 PM

    Posted on the same day as a story bemoaning the vanishing of the middle child.

  • Mary Ann July 14, 2018, 7:14 AM

    That was both wonderful and terrible.
    Hiraeth. It has me.

  • MMinLamesa July 14, 2018, 8:09 AM

    That’ll put a harsh on your day.

  • Hangtown Bob July 14, 2018, 10:09 AM

    POWERFUL ………

  • David July 14, 2018, 3:50 PM

    I never had it. It will crush me if I let it. I haven’t let it so far.

  • Bill Cox July 14, 2018, 4:42 PM

    That was deeply poignant as I age with my dear wife.

  • Vincent Frodl July 14, 2018, 5:13 PM

    We have just put my boyhood home up for sale. ( My mom’s farm, 54 acres. Dad died 16yrs ago. Been in the family 50 yrs.)

  • MIKE GUENTER July 14, 2018, 8:03 PM

    Those photos remind me of our grandparent’s place in Greenleaf, Idaho.

  • Snakepit Kansas July 15, 2018, 5:18 AM

    After a recent business trip, I visited my boyhood home near Dayton. I had not stepped in that yard since 1974. It was where I learned to pass a baseball with my Dad and played in the creek behind the house. I was prepared to see my old neighborhood in disrepair, but was pleasantly surprised to see just the opposite. I walked up and down the street and boyhood memories came flooding back.

  • Darkwater July 15, 2018, 8:01 PM

    As my father said, “When you go to search for your childhood home, it isn’t your home that you’re looking for. It’s your childhood.”

  • bob sykes July 16, 2018, 4:22 AM

    Entire American cities have been abandoned to the dark.

  • H (science denier) April 30, 2021, 1:38 PM

    Recently revisited the old home towns I grew up in. Your results, as always, may vary. In my case, Thomas Wolfe was right. I didn’t have a big enough gun to walk around one of them and got out as soon as possible. The other, totally unrecognizable. It is, what it is.

  • Mizz E April 30, 2021, 3:08 PM

    Now is the time for stripping the spirit bare,
    Time for the burning of days ended and done,
    Idle solace of things that have gone before:
    Rootless hope and fruitless desire are there;
    Let them go to the fire, with never a look behind.
    The world that was ours is a world that is ours no more.
    They will come again, the leaf and the flower, to arise
    From squalor of rottenness into the old splendour,
    And magical scents to a wondering memory bring;
    The same glory, to shine upon different eyes.
    Earth cares for her own ruins, naught for ours.
    Nothing is certain, only the certain spring.

    – Laurence Binyon


  • LP April 30, 2021, 4:30 PM

    I’m going to try to write something for my mom. I don’t know if it will be a biography or a memorial, but I was close to her during the final years of her life and I know that she was discouraged, so I’d like to add courage and compassion and value to her story.

    I know it would be valuable for future generations, her descendants, to know what her life was like and how fortunate we were to have her. Hers was such a well-lived life. She had so many wonderful children and grandchildren who all came to be with her in her last moments, even though it was sort of forbidden during covid, we were all there anyway. I put my life on hold and spent several months just sitting by her bedside because I didn’t want her to be alone.

    But she wasn’t alone for a moment. She had children and grandchildren sitting around her bedside, just being with her.

  • gwbnyc April 30, 2021, 5:31 PM

    I was part of a family- in order of their longevity a brother, a father, a mother, all long gone. The cluttersome secondary and tertiary relations have anything of theirs that still exists, whatever that entails. I have no photos, even, of any, nor contact with those that might possess the things.

    When the dust in late day light shafts settles, it’s junk.

    It was only something when it was, but not what it was thought it was.

  • Dave April 30, 2021, 6:07 PM

    Sad. Poignant. The American life without God. Empty and shallow. What more can I say?

  • ghostsniper April 30, 2021, 6:29 PM

    A pointy roofed box divided into compartments holding memories of people’s lives.
    Viewers make the memories real by substituting snapshots from their own lives.
    This is Anytown, USA.
    I was there. So were you.

  • Steve (retired/recovering lawyer) May 1, 2021, 3:23 AM

    Thanks for breaking my heart. Again.

  • Sid V May 1, 2021, 3:44 AM

    Well that was certainly depressing.

  • Annie Rose May 1, 2021, 5:48 AM

    This really spoke to me and now I’m crying. Four years ago, I had to sell my parents’ home when my dad suddenly passed away and my mom had to move into assisted living. The realtor and buyer were vultures, who tried to take advantage of our grief.

    The buyer, a local college professor from China, was buying the house for his spoiled brat of a daughter, who couldn’t live among the riff-raff on campus across town. Even an apartment was beneath her. Our realtor was really enamored with this jerk. So he bought the home that my parents literally shed blood, sweat, and tears in and where ended their 68 years of marriage, so his precious princess could have a party pad.

    They were the epitome of everything my parents and I disliked. I kept this information from my mom, as it would have upset her greatly. You see, their home was surrounded by angels. The neighbors of all ages had lovingly watched over my parents for years, visiting them and assisting with chores, calling me when they had concerns about my parents because I lived several states away.

    They were the ones who brought over food and drove my mom to the hospital to see my dad before I arrived. They were the ones who stopped by to check on me and help out after he passed away and my mom was hospitalized from a possible stroke. Everyone knew and cared about one another and had for years.

    Now they would have to endure having a college crash pad on their quiet street, where everyone worked hard to care for their homes and had sunk life savings into purchasing their homes. I wish we could have backed out of the sale, but it was impossible for many reasons. I drove by from time to time these past years. The holly has overgrown the front of the house, growing over the roof, my mom’s beautiful flowering bushes and perennials are dead stumps, and the lawn, my dad’s pride and joy, has turned from an emerald carpet to a dead, brown, weed-infested eyesore. The neighbors are too polite to say much about their asocial neighbor, except that they really miss my parents. I pray that the college brat moves out soon and a young family moves in and makes it a home once more.


  • jwm May 1, 2021, 6:23 AM

    Back in 1991 I saddled up the Hog, and took off on my first cross-country adventure. Of course, I had to visit the childhood home, the old neighborhood in Michigan that we left in 1963. Part of me had always felt like a transplant, like my real roots were in Michigan, and not California.

    I expected to roll down Pinetree Drive, pay a visit to the past, and drink deep from the wells of nostalgia. They were dry. I recognized everything and felt nothing. I spent a little time with some old family friends. They wanted to hear about my mother and father, but the conversation withered within half an hour. It was nothing but awkward. They were uncomfortable with the bearded stranger, and his loud bike. I just wanted to get out of there.

    Mom and Dad are gone. I have a brother in New York and a brother in Thailand. I never speak to the one, and seldom speak to the other. There’s a niece and a nephew, but they’re pretty much strangers.

    I have been blessed with a wonderful marriage, but we met late, and neither of us has children. At this stage of the game, we’re haunted with the absolute certainty that the day will come when one of us wakes up alone. So we turn the blind eye to it and cherish each and every day together. It’s all we really have. When we’re gone there’s nothin’ but a bunch of cool stuff, and no one who especially wants it.

    How it is.



  • Jack May 1, 2021, 8:14 AM

    Old Southerners like me, whose ancestry predates the American Revolutionary War, are particularly proficient in back glancing and I think, sometimes, living in the past for brief periods of time with particular aspects of that history. We might not openly admit it but we damned sure do it.

    Films like these compress what might normally be very brief but scattered thoughts or remembrances into several minutes of congealed experience that render them less than idyllic. I enjoyed the film but that’s how I felt after viewing it. Being able to remember is a great thing but sometimes I think that being able to forget those things is much better.

    Then I thought of the words of Jesus in Luke 9:60 (NLT) when He stated: Let the (spiritually) dead bury their own dead. Your duty is to go out and preach about the Kingdom of God.

  • twhunt@reagan.com May 1, 2021, 11:06 AM

    I have a memory also of my home. It was in my family beginning in 1855 or so. There were three houses on the property. All were homes for various relatives over the decades. The original house that was built in 1855 and added on to until around 1930 or so is where my fathers mother was born in 1900 and passed away within about 1987. Around 1998 my aunt passed away and one of her punk boys ended up with the deed. About 2010 this punk took out a bank loan against the property (first ever borrowed money on this property) and promptly defaulted on the loan.

    Everything I had saved as mementos was lost as well as other members of the family after a “suspicious fire” burned one of the smaller houses. We came to find out my cousin was selling everything on the property through online auctions and garage sales. Thousands upon thousands of photos dating back to the original type cameras.

    This church was built with gold and labor donated by my family and others in town:


    Our home is/was located on the hill about 400 feet away and we could look down on our church from our front porch.

    My cousins are products of the public (government) school system that is destroying our nation and its heritage. They attended schools on the east coast. My home described above was in California in the gold rush country.

  • ghostsniper May 1, 2021, 11:41 AM

    Cool church tw, has sort of a Ukraine gothic flavor to it.

  • Mike Seyle May 1, 2021, 5:15 PM

    Annie Rose; really sorry for your experience with the old home. Tragic. Mine is different. Parents got old; I went down to help out and let them die in their home instead of a nursing home. They did. When I sold the estate, bought 100+ years prior, the divorced woman who bought it brought it back to life. She appreciates the old photos I send, and lets me come visit when I head back to Texas annually. She has done wonders. It was time for me to leave and pass it on. As an aside, my mom once told me that my grandmother didn’t have the grace to die (after taking care of her for years). I thought mom’s words were cruel, but then … mom lingered, and dad lingered. I dunno. Maybe we should have the grace to die before becoming a burden.

  • Annie Rose May 2, 2021, 7:16 AM

    Thank you for your kind words, Mike. I was in the process of setting up Visiting Angels so my mom could continue staying in her home, when I found her collapsed on the floor a few days after my dad passed away with an apparent stroke. She came to the decision that she shouldn’t live alone in her home any more and had already picked out a facility where she wanted to live should such a time come. She insisted on staying in her hometown, because the people talked “funny” where I lived and it was in her opinion, too cold. She had a few friends living and working in that facility and was fairly happy there, also she sorry missed her home and my dad and her former life there. So it goes. For myself, I would prefer to stay out of assisted living and nursing homes entirely, especially given this past year when families were not allowed to see each other.