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There are walls in this house

that he once touched

with pipe tobacco stained fingers


windowsills he opened

leaving grey ghostly prints

and faded grime, perhaps

from yard work and oiling

tools that hang unused mostly


in the potting shed

in both the old and the new

basements, full of reminders

of his hobbies from his first marriage


as well as model trains

partly set up, never run

a dream he had for retirement

that never happened

not with his sons nor grandsons


I climb stairs he once trod

looking for signs despite fresh paint

of the million times or more

he must have gone up and down

with ease, and later, difficulty


finding a lone nail sticking up

that I hammer down

to keep from snagging socks

and bare feet of his second family

left behind, each in our own grief,


some days, overlapping

where once he walked, slept, laughed,

looked to each of us for love

and safety, until his abrupt departing.

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