“She’s Leaving Home”
J. Lennon
P. McCartney 1967

After I watch the U-Haul
pull out of the driveway with

my daughter inside, and her
boyfriend at the wheel, I

go into the house, and
climbing the stairs, not

wanting to think or feel, enter
her room, the closet now empty of the

blue flowered dress she wore to
her graduation, no Birkenstock sandals

on the floor, no books on the shelves,
many of them in French, from

the year in Paris where she
lived on Rue La Place, the place

she first called home away from
home, that miniscule apartment

in the shadow of the Pantheon
where the great thinkers of France

rest in the peace that passes
all understanding, and so I

picture her smile, and pocket this moment,
the weight of a small stone,

and go back to the kitchen to
chop vegetables and begin the soup for supper.

Don’t Tell the Children

Don’t tell the children
that when I was searching for my glasses
they were sitting atop my head.

Don’t tell the children we put on
subtitles for the television
shows that are already in English.

Don’t tell the children we go swimming
in the nude at night, our old skin
hanging off our bones in the moonlight.

That sleep is often evasive, leaving
us in swaths of darkness filled with
the rumble of past regrets.

Or that when you are older (we are afraid to say old)
your friends start to die, leaving
you bereft and wondering who’s next.

That not having to go to work, to get ahead,
to constantly prove yourself is just fine,
provided you have saved enough money.

That conversations with distant friends
are all one needs to brighten a day and that though
we like visitors, we no longer want guests coming to stay.

“Wait. What did you say?”
“I can’t hear you.” How easily patience runs out.
“Please don’t shout. And, don’t tell the children.”

Don’t tell the children we often can’t
bear to watch the news, an hour of being pummeled with
the disasters of man’s own making.

And that we are disheartened to be considered powerless,
unimportant, and all but invisible to those in charge,
the mighty ones who shape this world without us.

Do tell the children
there is beauty in the everyday,
the small moments, the silence, and doing nothing at all.

We must tell them that listening to your own breath is all one needs,
when accompanied by birdsong, and the
warming of the earth in spring.

Do tell them, if they will listen, all the stories, and that even in sorrow
they can still find joy. No. Don’t tell them.
They will know it all soon enough.

Katharine Davis is the author of three novels: Capturing Paris (included in the New York Times suggestions for fiction set in Paris; East Hope (winner of the Maine Writers and Publishers Alliance 2010 award for fiction); and A Slender Thread.  She lives in Southwest Florida and spends summers in Maine.  After years of writing fiction, she began to write poetry during the Covid Pandemic and now she can’t stop!