Lawrence Raab

The Summer House
August 9, 2013 Raab Lawrence

The Summer House


I let the envelope fall to the floor unopened,

and yes, it felt falsely dramatic, even if she

was no longer there to point that out.  Let me

go back and set the scene: mid-afternoon,


too early for a drink but a reasonable time

to start thinking about one.  In the kitchen:

a plain white envelope propped against

the salt shaker.  I won’t pretend to be surprised.


I watch it for a while, then flick it onto the floor

and nudge it under that ugly bird’s-eye

maple cabinet of mismatched dishes, way back

where it might easily be overlooked when the house


is cleaned.  Some day you may find yourself

living here for a month in the summer,

and one afternoon the clear light from the water,

which I remember so fondly, will touch an edge


of that envelope as you sit by the window.  Of course

you’ll kneel down to pull it out.  And yet

you hesitate.  Why not open it?

It’s as much yours as anyone’s now.

Lawrence Raab is the author of nine collections of poems, most recently The Life Beside This One (Tupelo, 2017), and Mistaking Each Other for Ghosts (Tupelo, 2015), longlisted for the National Book Award, and named as one of the Ten Best Poetry Books of 2015 by The New York Times.