Poem about memories I never actually had. Still vivid and real though.

Dusty brown bottles lie still and broken

Where my father left them;

Sitting like the clay rocks that fall from

The quarry walls. There’s a brown stain

Creeping to the window, its epicenter a dent,

An impact, where the comet of my mother’s head

Hit the window sill very, very hard.

Up the stairs, treading on a rug,

Holes worn through where feet-moths

Bit, chewed, and swallowed, the childhood meal

Of our past, we, kids, would run up and down,

Up and down, till the fabric gave way and the wood

Showed through, naked and cool. Down

The upstairs hallway, where the pots filled with

Salty, sandy, soil that can bear plants no more,

Is my sister’s room. She had no rug, just a window,

A bed, a lock on the door,

And a ceramic bowl. Right there,

At the end of that floorboard,

Jut the nails that stole the beauty from

My sister’s face. She and my father,

Who had been drinking,

Got into a fight. She had struck his face

Twice. He had picked up in the hallway

As she tried to run. He had thrown her

Into her room. Her face had hit the nails

That jut out of the floorboard. My father was sad

That my sister wasn’t beautiful anymore.

And there are the cigarette butts. They coat

Everything. They are the whitecaps of this house.

They are in the furniture, under the rugs, on the window sill,

Even caught in the cobwebs that dangle from

The ceiling. I guess spiders need a nasty habit too.

They remind me of my mother, though, still.

She would creep around, killing bugs, smoking

Her dirty habits, and then dropping them everywhere.

I remember her hair, wiry and black, like her voice,

A rasp on dry wood, like a rose bush

Of rusty wires and paper flowers. That was my

Mother; beautiful, fragile, dirty, painful.

And there is the dust. Since they’d all left,

The dust had moved in. It coated everything

Without shame. It dampened the memories,

The stories of this house. It blurred the harsh edges,

Subdued the awkward colors. It made

Everything simple, soft, and brown. Yes, brown,

That is the color of this house. Dusty brown is

The color of my childhood. Dusty brown is the

Color of my past.

Submitted: May 10, 2007

© Copyright 2022 Vonish. All rights reserved.

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