when we go back we expect
our old life to still be there
waiting for us just the way we left it.
Mother on the front porch reading,
Daddy asleep in his chair
by the fireplace.
The old dog thumps his tail in greeting,
even though reason insists
that no dog could live forty years,
even for you; all your friends
where you left them, at street corners
and in doorways, leaning against cars
and motorcycles; nearly grown, waving hello
and goodbye as you drive past: Tommy
alive and sporting that new beard,
Ruthann still slim and waif-like--
Armena with a bright new diamond on her finger.
As they were, uncluttered, unfettered by change,
as you were, for a little while.