A tire swing now, set far back in the yard, fresh scar of dirt under it, carved by child-size sneakers. Pansy faces, red and white, not black-and-blue, smiling from flower pots. Lawnmower in the carport, wheels caked with cuttings from an honest day’s work. A man whistling as he cleans.
White walls upstairs and down, intact, free of fist prints. The delicious absence of beer cans and cheap cigar smoke in the television room where a child plays. No tear stains on pillowcases. Closets serving their intended purpose; there is nothing and no one to hide from here.
Cake rising in the oven, not batter flung on the kitchen wall while a baby wails and a toddler screams and a dog cowers at the sight of a heavy boot. A woman singing because singing is good. Allowed. Kisses happen when this woman sings. Frying pans hang from a pegboard, clean and dry, void of menace. In this old house that used to be mine, with these new people and the way they are, frying pans are only used for cooking.