When I first stepped into this house
after an absence of many years,
I felt strange. It was a little hard
to breathe; my throat and chest were tight,
and my head throbbed. I soon diagnosed
claustrophobia — the walls seemed closer
than I remembered, the ceiling lower.
The house was unlikely to have shrunk.
It had been some time, after all, and I
had grown. I squeezed my way through
doors, peered into dusty rooms, where
long-neglected toys lay scattered. I hadn’t
put them away carefully when I left, but you
hadn’t moved them. I was touched. Still,
the house was, clearly, too small. I was sorry,
but I couldn’t stay. I took one last look
around, up and down, through the once-beloved
paths…and then turned to the door,
twisted the knob. Only, I had made a mistake —
opened the back door, rather than the front.
Tell me; did you plant this garden, this wild,
riotous maze, while I was gone, without a single mention?
Or did I just miss it the first time through?
Would it be okay, if I stayed a while?
September 7, 1998