When she wasn’t home, I became alarmed;
she was always home.
Fear of stubbing her toe on a sidewalk seam
kept her reclusive.
Everything looked normal,
the empty bookshelves stood.
The hundreds of typed pages, sometimes
printed with only one or two words,
lay strewn about the hardwood floors,
and topped empty tea mugs and carefully placed books.
I tiptoe around Emily Dickinson; Anne, Emily and Charlotte Bronte,
careful to not knock Edgar Allan Poe from his precarious perch
atop the cuckoo clock, worn and stopped, or Charles Dickens
from an odd looking bust of John Adams.
Yes, everything was as usual, and accounted for, but her.
She was missing from her post at the old typewriter,
in her old wicker chair. Normally she’d be there,
frantically typing click-clack-click, letter by letter and
page by page before adding five or six to the piles at her feet
and on the armchair and next to the waste paper basket.
Stopping to sip weak tea and eat a dry biscuit, or straighten an
errant doily. If the doily wasn’t covered with paper or acting
as bedclothes to a well-thumbed book.
Perplexed now, I enter further; down a long hall,
over a floor dressed in a worn carpet runner,
covered in paper and lined with stacked classics and
contemporary work and dark poetry chapbooks, atlases
and coffee table literature. Down the hall to the back door, I peek
out the kitchen window to spot her napping on the lounge chair,
dappled in the early evening sunlight, a not-so-important paper
clutched in her old white hand, and I smile as I wonder:
Had she found her Sense and Sensibility at last?