A soft-sided, well worn, briefcase
sits slouched in a closet corner,
one side agape, a red lanyard
hastily stuffed inside –
A row of black, brown and gray
pumps line up beside it, a thin
layer of dust betraying idleness.
Silent, unblinking, a television
recedes into the wall, flanked
by images of smiling faces –
shadows of nostalgia.
Stacks of books and journals
rumour a once scholarly mind.
The woman, once defined
by these trivialities,
is no longer here.
She has been called to another purpose.
(The Pilgrimage was first written in December of 2014, as I came to terms with the loss of my career due to ME/CFS. Now, as we embark on a new path, I find the poem has new relevance. This version is edited from the original.)
Slippers, perched at night stand,
mark the absence of feet,
cannot appreciate the meaning
of unruffled bed covers.
Abandoned, a coffee mug
bemoans its curdling contents,
complains of thick brown lines
contaminating its porcelain shine,
has not noted absence of hands.
Chair, pushed back from desk,
in partial rotation, sits awkwardly,
commanding attention, disturbed
by its misalignment, has not thought
to ponder absence of body.
House, uncomfortable with silence
creaks unnaturally, loudly voicing
objections to the absence of footfalls,
automated machinery and incessant
rings, beeps, and chimes of technology.
I try to reassure them that the absence
is only temporary, that the man whose
presence so strikingly fills this space
will return, hope they cannot read
the apprehension in my tremulous heart.