Metairie, Louisiana: December, 1984
He lives alone now
In the house they planned together,
In a neighborhood not meant for single men.
The living room is bare:
She took the loveseat, the coffee table,
Its off-white finish distressed at the factory.
They say she likes antiques now.
She did leave him the microwave.
His hands tremble, more than I’d remembered,
As he vacuums the sculpted carpet:
It is subdivider’s blue, embarrassed,
Dingier than he can see,
Less elegant than she had hoped.
In the back bedroom, where I stay,
He keeps his daughter’s bed made;
Her pictures line the wall, one for each year.
Our girls, our wives were friends then,
When we lived there, a part of our life ago.
The intercom is dented, paint chipped, and does not work.
I drive along Veterans Boulevard,
Past new tanning salons and small loan companies.
The pizza place we used to go, the six of us,
Is now a bar. Signs say habla espanol.
But in all Metairie looks much the same,
A blemished younger sister
In expensive clothes that do not fit,
Sullen, beside an aging beauty queen.
A square glass bank occupies the lot
Where Don and I used to buy our Christmas trees.