Our life had no sudden tragedy.
The kids grew up and left one by one,
and a slow cancer killed my husband.
People remember a barn that burns down
but forget a dozen that weather away.
I'm used to seeing deserted farms
I never thought ours would be one.
Leaving would be easier if a new family
were moving onto the place.
I can imagine decayed gray boards,
broken windows, and tall yellow grass
up to the sills, but I can't bear
thinking about the years of dusty silence
that will settle in here.
So I have decided before I leave
I'm going to cook dinner--fried chicken,
mashed potatoes, fresh bread, peas,
cucumbers strawberries and cream.
I'll set the table the way I did
twenty-five years ago, fill the plates,
pour the coffee, and then I'll go.
Let the detectives search for clues,
something out of place
like a butcher knife stuck in the door,
where life was always ordinary
with never a sign of violence.