The Past as a Yellow Room

Jan Strever

Wisdom, the followers of Zen say
is yellow, and my neighbor a retired
WAC, who served in Germany during WWII,
tells me that experience gives wisdom,
so why is it I cannot leave this house?

Everywhere I look the floor is strewn
with bodies: a daughter, two husbands,
a mother, a brother, a pride of pets.
I must lift their limbs when I dust,
and vacuuming we won't discuss.

Friends too I find there, frayed and splayed
by lack of care. I have been here before.
Why must I continue waking each day
afraid to see your face here instead
of on the other side of the door?

The 2River View, 2_2 (Winter 1998)