This is my father’s house.

It’s impossible not to feel my father here at the same time as it’s impossible not to feel his absence here. Everything around me was planned and built by him.

I’m at the kitchen table, in the dead-end of the nook where I sat for most meals growing up. It’s breakfast time, but there’s no food in the fridge, none of my mother’s canning in the cupboards in the basement, no vegetables in the root cellar.

A thin layer of plaster dust partly covers the wood-grain Formica that covers the table. Someone, probably my brother Ray, started mudding a spot of water damage on the ceiling almost directly over my head; got so far as sanding, but it looks as though it needs more mud, or perhaps the water that damaged it in the first place is still getting in, and the job was abandoned until the roof is fixed.

I listen for my losses and my ears ring.