Porch Lights

Now with the river
always on my right
I’ve left my companions
for a few days
to travel on alone
this last leg
to take me home.

It is April
night is falling
and the mist is gathering
between the river bluffs.

I know I will arrive
in the dark
that I will be exhausted
that the screen door
will still stick
as it always has
that they will be sleeping
with the windows open
the eyelet curtains
softly catching against the sill
or playing cards late
at the VFW.

But that no matter
where they are
someone will have
left the porch lights on
(the lights from my childhood nights
being called in for bed)
and a slice of pie
on the counter.

That every year
I am welcomed.
That even in the bad years
(I mean the years that I was bad.)
there were porch lights
and pie.

– Kay Winter

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