The empty room

The empty room prose poem

He sat on the floor of his old room, his back
Against the wall – everything was gone
And the room said nothing though it had heard everything
He’d ever said or thought, declared or mumbled under his breath
The mirror too was silent as always, though it had seen him
Throughout the years from the time he was just a little kid
Making faces, combing his hair, striking poses or just plain
Marveling over how much his face had changed over time
The windows were likewise quiet having opened and closed
By his own hand countless times, day and night, rain or shine
To keep out the cold or to let a cool breeze in over the changing seasons
Of his life and thus he sat there in the emptiness for the last time
In the little space he’d spent so much of his life
The whole house was quiet holding in its memory
Every minute of every hour of all the days and months, the years
And decades he had lived there, memories of his mom and dad
The family that was his, that had made the old house come alive
With the aroma of dinner on the stove and board games
At the dining room table, of birthday cakes, a family dog
Of early morning sunshine streaming through his window
The red hibiscus and the bright green lizard racing across the screen
This was the house that had kept everyone together under one roof
With a front door that opened wide as a smile and always happy to see him
And the family that was now no more leaving only him
With the task of saying goodbye to the place he’d once belonged
That had kept him safe and sound, had given him a niche
In the vast expanse of the world that spread in every direction
From his doorstep giving him all the room he needed to live
And grow up in, the only place he’d ever known he could call home
Where he’d return after having gone to war, then off to college
And after having traveled to distant lands that lay
Beyond the deep blue seas for years at a time
A home where he could find rest for his restless spirit
And consolation for a heavy heart or a troubled soul
Where he’d bring his own family for Christmas visits and Thanksgiving
Sleeping in his own bed again in the room that had always been his
But now the house was empty with an emptiness that overwhelmed him
That pulled at his heart with a longing he’d never known before
“How does one say goodbye to a house?” He wondered. “Or hear its reply?”
His words were spoken in silence. They fell from his eyes as tears

Poet’s Note:
It is about selling the house that my mom bought before I was born, where she raised me and where she lived till the day she passed away.

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Bill Peeler

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My wife, Noy and I are Protestant missionaries in Cambodia. We met in a border refugee camp in Thailand back in 1979 while I was a refugee relief worker. She was a refugee. I lived and worked in Mairut Refugee Camp for three years. We have three grown kids. I was drafted into the Army in 1969, served in Vietnam from 1970 to 1971 and honorably discharged at the end of my military obligation. Writing prose and poetry is how I document the life I'm living and how I map out the mental landscape inside my head.
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