alexandra isacson

There is a strange man outside parked in a car; he's gazing at my house. On a whim, I go out alone in a bathrobe. I wave him over and talk. He used to live here. I remember his name from neighborhood stories: divorced twenty-some years ago.

After moving in, we found a cache of black and white photographs. I wanted to return them, but she left them in the attic. Wedding pictures from the sixties: her wearing pearls, smiling holding a cat; baby girls; a yellowed newspaper clipping of their wedding: him in an army uniform all somewhere lost in a box in our laundry room.

I invited him in to look for the photographs and didn’t know if I could find them. He was in a trance and looked out through the French doors in back. He built the tree house in our China Berry. Outside he touched their family names he had poured together in concrete.

His wife’s funeral tomorrow: I didn't recognize her name in the obituary earlier in the morning. I couldn’t find the pictures of her holding the cat. I couldn’t tell him that. He held the pictures in his shaking hands, shuffling through telling me about their mysteries. Tonight he will take them for her viewing to show his daughters.

Alexandra Isacson
The Door
Marget Atwood