The Baltimore Sun

At some time many of us will have to make a last visit to a house where aged parents lived out their days. Here Marge Saiser beautifully compresses one such farewell.

-Ted Kooser

"Where They Lived"

One last time I unlock

the house where they lived

and fought and tried again:

the air of the place,

carpet with its unchanging green,

chair with its back to me.

On the TV set, the Christmas cactus

has bloomed, has spilled its pink flowers

down its scraggly arms

and died, drying into paper.

At the round oak table,

ghosts lean toward one another,

almost a bow, before rising,

before ambling away.

Ted Kooser was U.S. poet laureate, 2004-06. Copyright 2006 by Marjorie Saiser. Reprinted by permission of the author. This column does not accept unsolicited poetry.

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