Hilda was surprised when the doorbell chimed.
She wasn’t expecting anyone,
And had never been the sort of person
One simply dropped in on.
She was a bit annoyed too,
When at that very moment, as if on cue,
Irksome like a selfish child, and as untimely,
The disconsolate kettle began to shriek
With a dull and familiar urgency —
Demanding that she, then and there,
Make haste to assuage its unbearable despair.
“Just a moment!” she called out in the usual panic,
As she scurried down the hallway to the naked,
Sun-filled kitchen, where all that remained
From a lifetime of helpless indecision
Were sparkling countertops, and one of everything,
Except for the surviving regalia,
Unloved and battle-scarred,
Of her mother-in-law’s fine bone china.
“I won’t be a minute!” she cried.
And, releasing the bolt,
It occurred to her at last,
The awful pity it was
That in her interminable endurance,
She had neglected to gather
The pieces of what, behind the door,
Might once have been — but no more.