Wandering through the old basement of our home
I am looking for something to fix a dripping kitchen faucet
amongst the cobwebbed wreakage of his first marriage,
old varnish cans, an ugly green plastic topped bird cage,
shelves of hazardous materials, half-finished stained glass,
broken chairs waiting for glue and stain,
what was left behind, labeled in his imprecise script.
So much lies beneath our house, on the dirt side
where no light shines and I've not crawled to see
whatever was saved or stored for the future
except when standing on concrete, from a short distance
by the shadows cast from a single bare lightbulb
that has no chain.
He thought everything here would last forever,
yellow shag carpeting and wallpaper with roosters,
rooms filled with his daughters' things,
a red-headed wife who sold Tupperware and left them all
for gold in California, ending up where she started
in a trailer park, alone and overweight.
These days, he confuses then from now, the details,
often asking if I know where something long gone is
or expressing surprise when I say, "That was your other wife,
your other life, over thirty years ago."
Today we visited my mother, then stopped briefly to see
if two women he once worked with were home.
He talked as if we hadn't seen them twice in the last year,
played with their dog and told them about his new job.
"There is a lot of music, but the women need haircuts,
the sad ones," he said, then pointed to me and smiled,
"She could do it. She can fix anything."
Driving home, through drenching rain and loud thunder,
in our son's messy Jeep, he asked me if I knew where
we were going. I said, "Home." He was quiet, then
lightly touched my arm, "I didn't mean to talk about the past.
I know you're my wife now. I'll never forget that,
if I can help it, at least for a day."