Ann Keiffer

Leaving the House

Sometimes we leave the house terrorized…
Refugees fleeing wars, earthquakes, violence,
volcanoes, floods, famines, fires.

Sometimes we leave the house weeping…
Casualties of foreclosure; career re/dis-
location, empty nest, or old-age when
we sacrifice nearly all to live assisted.

Sometimes we leave the house glad to go…
Off to a roomier family home, a smaller
place with less upkeep, retirement to
some special place we call paradise.

Sometimes we want to leave but we
can’t get out the door…can’t get ourselves
organized, are at the mercy of confusion
and circumstances beyond our control.

I think death, too, may be
a kind of leaving home.

Illness, the ravages of treatment, age,
or catastrophic accident
make the body-house uninhabitable.
We are evicted.
We may have no warning.
We may know what’s coming
but be beset by regrets:
things we have done
or left undone with the time
we were given in this house.
Or we may be trapped a long time
in this falling-down body-house,
unable to call down the mercy of death.

I do not know how I will
leave my body-house.
I only know I will leave.
I should probably pack a bag—
a small suitcase like the one
I packed weeks ahead of going
to the hospital to give birth.

I will not need much.
Just my clean surrender
and the rolled spiral
of my consciousness.
With these, I will try
to make a good death.

On the threshold…
This is what it feels like, this leaving.
This is what it feels like, this dying.
This is what it feels like, this going.
This is what it feels like,
this   me          being                   gone.

Ann L. Keiffer
November, 2010

Photo Credit: Litthien at Devianart


About Ann

I am interested in the strange beauty of brokenness, in transforming possibility in difficult times, in how we heal even when we can’t get better, in the alchemy of surrender, in the interplay of light and shadow, in the bounty of everyday wonders, in the gift of laughter…and writing about it, all and everything.

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