The Last Sense to Go

After the earthquake, we fixed
         then sold the damaged house in order to pay
off the housing loan. It had been built
         on a strip of land right next to my father's—
next to the home of my girlhood to which I returned
         with my children after we lost everything. 
Every time I walked down the road toward our gate,
         I could see through the front window the awful dark 
stain the new owners had put on walls that used to be
         warm, honeyed wood. I cried over the loss
of the. west-facing view from the second floor,
          the dark-leaved avocado tree in the back.
We'd pushed our beds under the low eaves  
          so we could paddle more quickly into dreams:
one night, held in such deep sleep beneath a curtain
          of rain, we were spared the sounds of burglars
jimmying a kitchen window open, then running away
          with a toaster and a boombox they didn't know
was broken. Someone is always saying you don't realize
          what you miss until it's lost or taken— the way you
might look at a telephone and imagine the shadow of a cord
          coiling away from the receiver; the shape of a bell
that used to swing at the end of a rope and that someone 
          climbed a tower every morning in order to ring. 


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