Pulling into the driveway, memories make me gasp for air.
Can anyone know the love that happened here?
The maple tree out front where I discovered how to make noses out of its seedlings,
and felt carefree enough to jump in its leaves,
stands exquisitely rigid demonstrating its stability.
Its branches reaching for the heavens as if to pull down the home’s occupants for one last joyful jump.
The metal gate scrapes against its barrier, gives way, and creaks its opening,
I am greeted by the paint-thin, red, splintering porch swing where I learned of mustard seeds.
Salted mackerel taste still on my tongue.
So pickled, my fists clench in response.
The key–reliably found in the metal wash basin
containing the watering can and long forgotten gardening gloves–
Weighted in my hand this time,
turning reluctantly in its receptacle.
Smells of life and of death hit me,
breaking a bone.
Clean laundry folded,
food spoiling in the trash.
The vinyl covered kitchen table unmoving in time,
strewn with hand-written letters, crumbs from shortbread cookies, pill bottles,
and the latest bargains bought on a whim
to combat the poverty fought as a child.
In the corner sits an age-worn tin potato chip can,
my stool for washing dishes,
still my favorite go-to make-shift seat when visiting,
waiting patiently for my return.
I enter the living room.
To my left is the book case filled with titles by Stephen King, Dean Koontz, and Clive Barker.
Odd that my fascination for the macabre began here.
Their bindings now covered with cobwebs, their pages surely now filled with paper mites.
on the plank covered radiator next to her recliner,
cloaked in warmth
transported back in time.
David Bowie and Bon Jovi are playing in the background.
A fresh faced teenager is dancing and giggling with her friends,
stopping only long enough to stack the next set of 45s.
Spinning under the glass teardrop chandelier.
Pictures of ancestors line the wall,
the sepia bleeding onto itself, blurring the objects into grayness,
like their life.
Eyes screaming their woe.
On the windows to keep in the heat.
On the lampshades to keep out the coal dust.
On the drying rack to keep the budget.
A tattered, marked up bible filled with dried, pressed flowers in hand,
I turn to go.
One more rose to be weighted inside,
creating a page marked with existence.
Pulling out of the driveway, I say a heartfelt prayer
I was lucky to know the love that happened here.