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Jul 2010
It looks like a house.
It has four walls and a roof,
windows dressed in brightly
colored curtains and
an American Flag
blowing out front

but the tarnished cement on
the walkway, the chipped paint
on the front door,
the broken screen,
the overgrown garden
and the lonely lawn chairs
warn that this is not a house.

Mountains of memories plague
every opening-
obstruct any attempt
to walk from room to room.

A two hundred dollar telescope
sits cold and unused
in the dining room buried
in the middle of papers and
bills never paid.

The shower stands naked- pipes
showing beneath a clumsily placed
plastic bag. Tiles peel and hope
to be uprooted away from
cat litter thrown from untidy pets.

Closets shelter coats long
out of fashion and toddler
toys unfit for a now
12 year old boy.

He comes home
from school,
sits down
and sighs.

He does his homework
on the floor- his desk
buried beneath old children's
books and computer paper.

There is a couch that sits
bare in the living room with
cushions stained and
sunken in- holding
place for a heavy body that
lounges with eyes shut.

My mother dances around it all,
feet feeling for holes
to fit into from kitchen
to bathroom to bed.

Her path is formed like
footprints in snow.

She sleeps surrounded by
discarded perfume bottles
and dresses three
sizes too small.

A small black urn
sits sadly beneath
a battered TV-
if only he could
watch her from beneath
the debris.

The washer and dryer still clean
her clothes and the bathroom still
washes away sweat from busy days-

But she knows this is not a house.

No more dinner parties
with familiar faces.

No more meals
served on the kitchen table-
now a holding place for boxes
and unopened presents
from holidays past.

No more sleep over parties
in the basement- comfy couches
now corroded by seven years
of mold and wreckage
from a small flood.

No more Christmas tree
dimly lighting
the living room since
a Best Buy box
now occupies its space-
broken down
and filled with forgotten pogs
and Pokemon videos.


The house holds it all
up with accepting planks
and brick- it is stronger
than she is.

Secretly she wishes the
house would fall down.
Secretly she wishes
she would be inside it.

Sometimes I want
to bring flowers to lay
in front of this messy grave,

But my family still breathes
inside the tomb
that they’ve made.
Stacy Del Gallo
Written by
Stacy Del Gallo  Columbia, MD
(Columbia, MD)   
1.1k
 
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