The house is collecting dust. It’s time to clean, you’d have said, long before now. I stick to the path from the bedroom to bathroom to front door, picking up bobby pins. I don’t go looking but I find them often; before your black hair slowly fell wet-gray and sick out of your head and we burned you into an urn the size of an American football, it slowly rain-dropped bobby pins, in cracks, corners, between sheets, under our wedding photographs, bed cushions, and in pockets.
I stopped cleaning when I remembered that I won’t be able to forget. I don’t now clean, the corners, the cracks, the places that you told me never to forget even though I can’t see them.
After donating the material you, excluding the loved family Golden Labrador, to the outside world, the house got full of hollow gaps: your emptier bedroom drawers, counters bare of favorite kitchen appliances, now big breathing closet, gaping naked bookshelves, and other numerous pieces and lacks of parts.
Keeping to the path from the bedroom to bathroom to front door long enough for the noondays sun to show a parquet shine, in our house that is still collecting dust that you’d have said it’s time to clean long before now, I think I got them all. Tossed. Off my track. I don’t see a pin left.
Then the other night after another day, when I return to follow the house’s path, backwards, the beloved family Golden Labrador, after having paw-knocked the American football-sized tin, is rolling around in the thick ghost cloud, tongue flapping, groaning shit-happy. You are on the kitchen counter, you are spread across the couch, you are slowly clouding into the bedroom covering the parquet path with your settling tracing steps, and sitting next to me on the photographs on the dresser clouding up my face.
The beloved family Golden Labrador jingles his collar tags and wags his big gold dusty tail before I send him jagged kicked to the front yard. You cling to the flinging twisted screen-door and you go to the flower bed and here and there are sitting under the dogwood tree, settling on the falled petals.