Good Life


Just last month, Jeff was taking 30 minute showers,

while water soaked through the floor

and dripped onto the ping pong table below.

He was baking his whole wheat bread

and urging us to eat the dandelion leaves

that grew in our yard.

Every morning at 6:30, he slammed the door and jogged,

leaving his collie behind to whimper.

Jeff played Irish jigs on his harmonica,

while Debbie played soft rock on her guitar.

Rhonda was busy buying and cooking special foods

to help her lose weight

while Caren was either talking on the telephone

borrowing my car or making pizza.

The doorbell, the messages, the dogs barking

everyone eating and sleeping at different hours

dirty dishes piled high in the sink

kids raiding the refrigerator,

or going in and out at all hours

until I would pout or yell at them

or just leave the house

to have a few quiet hours alone.

Now they‚re gone ˜ college bound.

Nothing gets out of place anymore

and it‚s quiet in the house,

except for the steady rhythm of a cold September rain

against the windows ˜ now slow, now fast.

It slides down the shingles and falls into the gutters

and the drain pipe gulps it down.

The plastic pillows on my porch furniture are soaked.

A lone bird sits motionless on a telephone wire

against the cheerless skies.

He Jeff, please come back

and make a big mess in the bathroom.

Debbie, play your guitar and sing your songs.

Rhonda, clutter the kitchen with your special diet foods,

Ring ˜telephone, bark dogs, slam doors,

hum washing machine, grind disposal.

Let‚s have a little confusion here.

That is, until I can‚t stand it anymore

and pout, or yell at them,

or just leave the house

to have a few quiet hours alone.