Sat and Listened

On the 4th of September some time ago now
I returned to an empty house,
a wall of anger ran through me and around me

It took a week for that wall to crumble,
standing at the cash register at work
anguish surging up from a deep well way down low.

For hours I sobbed and howled
in the office out back of the store
Evelyn the manager came and went
and when she could – just sat and listened.

3 days later my mother and father arrived
for 2 weeks they stayed
their child, the grown man needed care

mother cleaned all the shelves and cupboards
cleaned all the clothes and ironed all the shirts
father tried to find the answers
and in the end – just sat and listened.

After they went home, the house slowly lost their comfort,
shelves and cupboards returned to slight disorder and
one by one ironed shirts were worn, never again to feel the same.

Hanging in its place I left one shirt untouched,
now and again I would open the wardrobe
to feel my mother in the sleeve.

A decade later we are speaking on the phone
about the children
all of them young men now and mostly independent

you talk about wanting to see them more often
and it being hard to arrange, you tell me about your new man
and how things are working out.

In a moment of candour you speak of the past
confessing
it should probably never have happened.

Who would have thought that in the end
it would be me, who just sat and listened.

MChallis @ 2014