On Leaving

In a living room on some forgotten
corner of the suburbs, the TV sighs:
history sleeps here, tossing and turning
between creased cushions where the sofa cracks
form a map of fault lines, sunken patterns
telling the stories of why people leave.

Late June: my father takes his final leave.
Snoring in his office, he's forgotten
a life beyond reading fairway patterns,
chipping, and listening to cedar sighs.
Thirteen miles away, the evening sky cracks
open outside my window, clouds turning

livid amid streaks of lightning, turning
to scars, counting the weeks until I leave.
Glimpsing his face in mine, the mirror cracks
in two. Tonight, dinner is forgotten
as the clock strikes eight and my mother sighs,
painting over the same faded patterns

on her buttered kitchen walls, old patterns
of love, waning post-honeymoon. Turning
to my sister, who mimics her loud sighs,
whose face reminds her why she could not leave,
she knows twenty years can't be forgotten.
As dusk swallows the yard, her strained smile cracks.

In our daily car rides, my father cracks
feeble jokes, trying to break the patterns
of silence, like his sins are forgotten.
But I remember last summer, turning
up my music as he threatened to leave,
drowning discord beneath piano sighs,

and now, I answer him with sullen sighs.
Later, reading the future in the cracks
of their tarnished gold rings, I swear to leave
lovers before I'm left, piecing patterns
of the tattered vows together, turning
and tossing, restless, on some forgotten

couch as the night sighs. History's patterns
skulk behind the cracks in my mask, turning
to stone words; they leave nothing forgotten.

A/N: A sestina drawn from the well of my memory. Almost a year in the making. June 6, 2010.