In the farmhouse with eight rooms
by Nels Hanson
one family lived a hundred years.
Voices spoke at night, on the porch,
then front parlor, rising and falling
dialogue with inquiry, thesis and
assent, a muffled low hum of radio
tuned to some distant channel, talk
streaming but nothing to make out,
lost syllables across a polar region.
We imagined it was wind you think
is talking or refrigerator starting up
at three a.m., dividing its mechanic
monologue in half to populate old
loneliness. When next evening they
approached closer, downstairs hall,
we deciphered two words clearly,
a murmur asking, “Here?” and then,
“Perhaps,” so softly, nothing more,
faint gust at screen. My wife and I
weren’t hesitant but eager, curious,
sure visitors had arrived to help not
harm and hours we waited for them
to return, draw nearer, living, dining
room, kitchen, breakfast nook, until
we learned better what they meant.
“Shall we stay?” “Should we go?”
“Do you want to go?” “Wait.” We
woke early morning at faint brush
of bare feet on stairs and breathed
plum blossoms’ scent of February,
blue wisteria, now felt warmer air.
They were standing at our window,
backs turned, arms at each other’s
waist. “Are we there?” “I think we
are.” Without word or glance, two
leaves lifted by one breath of wind
we rose, dressing quickly to allow
the friends their privacy and rest.
We kept looking back, and before
the river turned a last time, we saw
their gazing faces like twin moons
darken to one eclipse as our joined
shadows chose a path marked out
in moonlight on the moving water.
Copyright © 2015 by Nels Hanson.