Benediction for Subsequent Tenants


Hang your pictures on the nails I left behind for you, the way I hung mine using the holes already there as a guide. Open the kitchen cabinets and see the rings made by glasses put away wet. Use the wooden dowel in the closet to prop the bedroom window open on spring nights. Layer your marks on this house like a palimpsest of blemishes. Let the gouge you make dragging a lamp across the floor run through the divots I sowed by repeatedly dropping the claw hammer. When you scrape the peeling  plaster clean to paint, leave a few holes unfilled like ghost craters on the moon—so when I return, I can run my fingers over them and know I was here all along, living with you, the way so many did with me: in the uneven rotation of the ceiling fan, in the front door's cracked glass and in the rust stains in the basin of the sink.

ROSE POSTMA lives upstairs in an old duplex in St. Louis with her husband and two children. She has no plans to ever become a home owner. Her work has appeared in Plainsongs, Tar River, and Atlanta Review.