The Key

To Trent on our 6th anniversary

It was there all along, filled with light,
sound, familiar voices, quiet conversation,
children laughing. You could never see
their faces—just shadows moving
in the purple evening light, a cheekbone
silhouette, wavy hair, a hand reaching out.

Daily errands and long runs took you past
that place almost daily, drawing you
to it like a voice in a cornfield, but the doors
were locked and no one ever answered
when you knocked. Go away, you told yourself,
this isn’t yours. You were only dreaming.

You left. You learned to exist without
a hand holding your hand, without those voices,
without that laughter and that light. You knew
they must have been made of pure love
because in the void where you had imagined them
with you, there was no love. There was nothing.

Any good realtor will tell you how a house
can be your home: see your couch in that corner, your
dishes on that shelf. You do see it. You sign the papers
and pack all your hope into boxes. You pick up the key.
But here’s the catch: it’s just a house filled
with all your stuff. You think of a dream you had once.

You find yourself standing on that familiar sidewalk
one day. Nothing in your life feels right:
you eat like shit, you stare at a screen all day. At night
you stare at a different screen. But there is a life
on the other side of that door. You want to go
inside. You’re afraid, but your hand is on the doorknob anyway.

And in your hand, there is a hand, and in the window
a face, and another face—you know that cheekbone,
that hair falling around familiar eyes. You recognize their voices.
You’ve come home, but not to any house you can buy.
There is no key to this place where you belong.
This has always been your home. You are the key.

hdw 11.10.18

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