Demeter, Just After the Solstice

My story says that once my daughter leaves,
my heart was filled with grief and I was lost,

a wanderer, a hopeless mess of worry.
But let me tell you this – there’s something sweet

about the sound of silence, how it wafts
through the hallways of this empty house,

how I can hear my own thoughts and my breath,
the sound of winter rustling the dying

leaves outside my bedroom window. Today,
I was awoken by my body’s restful

satisfaction, not the blasting sound
of teenie-bopper music from her bedroom,

the constant rapping of her fingernails
on the keyboard, or her cellphone ringing

at the most ungodly hours. Today,
I didn’t stumble on the thousand pairs

of shoes she always sloughs off from her feet
and leaves wherever they may fall like petals.

Today, there was no wad of umber hair
nestled in the shower drain, but still

those strands remain between the carpet threads,
on her pillowcase and in my mind.

Today, I’m walking naked through the house,
just a towel wrapped around my hair.

I’ll drink a cup of coffee with no hurry –
what’s the rush? There’s nothing I can do

to bring her back, except to wait and let
the seasons have their way with both of us.

In March, she will return a different woman –
we’ll share a bottle of merlot and laugh

about the fleeting seasons, how to find
our pleasures as they thunder past us all.

Katherine Hoerth