Explanations for the Night
Her doctor, she says, claims he can't do a thing
for her other troubles until she starts to sleep.
Anybody who goes a day or two without it
is likely to forget things, lose things, maybe
Just take that prescription, he says, let yourself
get some rest, and your house will quit talking.
His pen ticks like a clock against his clipboard.
Her grandson has stayed two nights to listen.
A lot of things, he says, can make a house talk.
The furnace coughs before the blower starts
and the ducts crackle when they cool down.
Drafts whisper through the vents if there's wind,
and your darn freezer is a regular church social.
Sometimes, he says, you even leave your TV on.
Maybe, she tells him. Maybe not. But a widow,
at least an old one, doesn't have much to do
at night but worry, and she has lots of things
to wonder about. Sometimes fear's better than
other things it might be—memories have a way
of ganging up on you. And she does not say
that if it's Lowell, coming back or never left,
she mostly wants to hear him, to hear what
he has to say for himself. To tell her why.