Retired Couple Reluctantly Repairs
   an Old House

Sheetrock replaces buckled plaster:
Should have done this when Mother died.
Living room and cupboards empty, prescient;
Inherited china on the dining room table,
Rehearsing for a tag sale.


An old house, empty, between owners.
In the dining room that we had thought so fine,
The crystal chandelier, now bereft, exposed,
The flowered wallpaper she will replace.
Look, alone on the mantle, a jar of keys.
Keys to what, we wonder.
They are the keys to the accumulation of our days,
To cars that do not start,
Left behind in other towns,
To doors that no longer open.

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