September 9, 2016




The daylight in the basement path

to your older sister’s bedroom

has always been dim,

but on this late winter afternoon

clouds repurpose the sun,

silver cold seeps through the window frame,

overlaying the memory of summer’s golden weeks.


When the cool was a refuge,

I’d go to the basement

to deliver her laundry,

or call her for dinner

where she inclined over a math book

or hid in a novel.

Now no lamp lights the desk,

no imprint warms her pillow,

no cello practice subdivides the hours.


We hear bits of her converge

through phone calls

as she walks to class,

her voice streaming

through the thermosphere,

home for a moment.


We know she will return

after the thaw,

when ice-glazed roads

have lost their crust.

For now, we pass the shuttered room,

and wait for spring to call living things from sleep

and the muted spaces of far away.   



You, my second daughter,

soon turn eighteen.

College letters crowd the mail.

I bring them to your room

and stack them on your desk.

I make your lunches,

fold your laundry,

proofread your papers,

hear your violin race through

the metronome’s measured time.


When all is quiet,

I catch your gaze

discerning the window’s winter light,

divining the season’s promised change.

I sense the restlessness of leaves

wound tight on stretching branches.


Your sister’s basement room

is still empty,

but still you burrow warm

in your downy nest,

adulthood’s burdens just outside the door.

We pause, listen,

and wait for spring to call

all new wings to flight.


Susan Thomas lives in Rexburg, Idaho where she teaches English at Brigham Young University-Idaho.  She is also a musician, photographer, and mother of four children, two of whom are still in the nest.

September 9, 2016

1 Comment

  1. Teresa TL Bruce

    September 13, 2016

    Beautiful yet painful (too close to my own branches).

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