Departure by John Calvin Hughes

Departure

Last night,
coming from dark bars,
from the closeness of strangers,
coming home late again,
the door was open:
the floor was peppered thick with rice:
patterns of splayed places
in that grainy carpet
where the polished maple
shone through: skidding footprints.

The parakeet was greenly gone,
the wire door torn down;
the bird ranges the wind
from tedious curse and praise.

The refrigerator stood open:
inside the cool white cube,
the bulb, the empty racks.

The cat bowl tipped,
gray milk linoleum halo,
bone-chipped spill.

She has freed the small appliances:
ascended to junk
they are utterly broken.
The cat highsteps among the ruins.

by John Calvin Hughes

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Editor’s Note: The rice on the floor sold me on this poem, but the rest of the imagery is just as startling and evocative.