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Should I Stay or Should I Go?
by Leslie Sittner

Memories sustain me in my grief,
our time together, oh-so brief.
I wander the empty echoing rooms alone
in our huge retirement-together-home.

Should I Stay or Should I Go?

Gardens. Beach. Woods. All.
Always working side-by-side
in winter, spring, summer, fall.
Me the designer, he the labor
always dual caretakers.
Joint creators of landscape,
always partners, homemakers.

Should I Stay or Should I Go?

Downsize. Purge. Divest.
I know I must but my widow-judgment
I cannot trust.
Two years more I persevere.
Home maintained, groomed, fueled
until exhaustion, isolation, sadness
scream in my ear
Downsize. Purge. Divest.

I Should Go

Bestow, bequeath, donate, toss
the stuff of memories. Of love loss.
Leave enough to stage the place
And make the move so hard to face.

I Go

With considered belief that moving is right
I pray for relief from my grief each night.
The new village home, tiny, neat.
A perfect size for the dog and me.

I Go Back

Stalking the old house each season,
I drive by, park, linger, watch
trying to recapture, within reason,
the essence of my memories.
I want to shout
but those memories are ageing-out.

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: Our prior home (left) compared to my current one (right). The “new” house is a Lustron Home from 1949. It’s porcelain enameled steel panels inside and out (like a car), small, efficient, and easy care. Unlike the huge log home…

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: This prompt is painfully timely. It’s been exactly seven years since I’ve been widowed and five since the “move.”I tried this piece in prose but I couldn’t capture the struggle. I really do drive the 30 miles to the old place to sigh.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Leslie Sittner has been turning to the written word as a form of self-expression and reflection. She began this journey two years ago and is just finding her voice in different formats. Two of her stories are now available in print in The Apple Tree by Third Age Press, and on-line prose at 101Words, 50 Word Challenge, and 50 Word Stories. A variety of other prose and poetry can also be seen on-line at Silver Birch Press. She is finishing a book about travels with her ex-husband and hopes a publisher will find it as humorous as she and her friends do.