Habituation by S.E. Rowe

Habituation

S.E. Rowe

Years in and the unspeakable happens:
sitting in your chair the neighbourhood rises
like exhaust around you, the hardly noticed
products of time’s manufacture: slow rattle of cars,
muffled screams of jet liners taking off, open
and close of the gate, sound of water as it
freefalls from the eaves each time
with precision and consistency
to knock the deck boards with its boots,
the door with its knuckles. Might as well greet
mornings like this, gradual habituation sets in
like an uncle you hardly know put up
in a spare room, eventually it grows on you.
What is it you’re missing? Home? No,
too easy after all this time. It’s the
unexpected that haunts you, the absence
of it, how the street could easily be
your street, the town easily be your town.
You know the people strolling by, who
they are or used to be. The struggle
to belong was over before you knew it and,
shifting uncomfortably in the seat, you
reel at the thought. Home. Pan the yard
through wide French doors, survey the earth,
adjacent houses, the towering tree you
no longer notice that loomed once a warning.
Vision settles near the patio’s edge;
like last year the bleeding heart’s in bloom,
that warm pink brighter now than ever.

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