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By Michelle Douglas

The house  
is no longer her home:  
the gardens no longer filled  
with brilliant flowers  
her gnarled hands transformed  
into dancing ballerinas  
or sweet-scented bouquets  
in cut-glass vases.  
The stairs miss her footfalls,  
her thin, reedy voice singing  
of spinning wheels and parlors  
as she places jars of fruit  
on dust-free shelves.  
No more in the bedroom  
the soft scent of roses,  
of soap and cedar;  
no long gray hairs in her brush,  
no lonely cry of "Charlie"  
in the dark of a widow's night.  
The house  
is no longer her home.  
She who graced the wooden stair  
and short garden path  
sleeps within a house much smaller  
much darker now.  

But the house remembersMichelle Douglas