A Country Home
A little red house on the hill,
but sometimes pink, white or yellow
in a neighborhood huddled in a wooded valley
shared mostly with relatives,
except for friends to the north.
In late evenings, when we weren’t allowed
out of our yards, we’d play on the line.
We had three acres; half in garden,
a small wooded area, large yard with
lots of nut trees, pines and an oak named Charlie.
One sister said if she died and went to hell,
they’d hand her a lawn mower.
The funny thing is, in Dad’s heaven,
they’d hand him a lawn mower, too.
With all seven round the kitchen table,
no one could move except for Dad and me.
So I was the “gofer” when someone needed
something from the frig, cupboard or cellar.
In the corner was a wringer washer.
With all the jeans out on the line, mom said
people would think she had five boys, not girls.
The living room was crammed full
of furniture plus an upright piano. Watching TV,
I’d sit on the floor, under the keyboard.
The walls were decorated with Whitey
(a head of an albino doe),
Blacky and Reddy (mounted squirrels) and
a full gun cabinet. I thought everyone had one.
The hallway (which seemed long at the time)
ran out of the living room,
three bedrooms on the left, a coat closet
and a bathroom on the front part of the right.
There was a closet at the end of the hallway
which housed towels, the Lincoln Library and
the set of red books including #5: Best Loved Poems.
Each bedroom was mine at one time.
Mostly my oldest sister and I shared the back room.
In the winter, frost decorated the windows.
We cuddled to keep warm.
When she got her first job, she bought
an electric blanket and a record player
on which she played loud rock music.
My middle sisters were in the middle room.
The first room was my parents’
and for the first few years my younger sister
slept in a crib then a single bed in the corner.
And in the plaster, Mum had shaped a teddy bear.
There was a big closet in the early years
and to get away I’d go in there and daydream.