by David Tucker

My wife and kids were gone, the house
was empty and light. All morning I read
Barbara Tuchman’s great book
about the Middle Ages.
A plain gray moth slept
on the windowsill, waking now and then
to crawl with the heat of the sun.
The smell of the lilac near the fence
rushed past me—scene of the French cavalry
there, then not there. It all went so fast.
The kids came home,
my wife rushed in talking of dinner,
and the streetlights switched on.
I put my book down somewhere
in the years after the Black Death
Farms lay abandoned and whole towns
had disappeared. In an abbey
by the Seine, the last monk alive left a note,
and the moth on the windowsill
was gone—slipping though a hole
in the screen and into the night. 

“Day Off” appears in David Tucker‘s collection Late for Work, winner of the Bread Load Writers’ Conference 2005 Bakeless Prize (and published by Houghton Mifflin, 2006), available at Amazon. com,