The house is quiet,
except the fridge and the rubbish bins.
The furniture is all back in familiar places.
Everything is tidy,
The gingerbread house is as beautiful –
untouched and still in cellophane –
as when it arrived
but there’s not much more pudding.
A decanter holds the whiff
of Papa’s Apricot Special
a cocktail recipe so old
that it calls for sauterne,
Italian and French vermouth,
although it’s years
since they were called that here.
The mix has lost none of its potency
for the years since his wobbly hand
penned ingredients and method,
and it still includes instructions for how to adjust
if too sweet for men.
There’s not a clean teatowel left in the house.
and the bathmat is a hand towel.
The weeks of cleaning in and out,
Down the hallway the smoke alarm tweets
echoes echoes echoes,
as if in forlorn
for the madness chaos and noise
of Christmas Day.