High Meadow Lane


I throw the empty drawers 
Onto the pile in the dumpster. 

I turn away from the refuse, 
And look up at the family home. 
Somehow, still, my house. 

With the “Sale Pending” sign in the yard. 

I have a key for the Realtor's lock.
I enter through the back deck door 
Like I always did. 
Into the family room that I visited 
So many times 

Dad’s been gone awhile.  
But the ghost of his recliner 
Still fills its emptiness. 

I say hi to mom 
Because she’s only been gone a month. 
Her recliner is still there, 
So I can picture her better 
I say “Hi” again, and then I say, 
“But you’re not here.” 

 I walk through the kitchen 
Into the dining room. 
We have emptied the house so totally, 
That the few drapes 
And the one cabinet hanging in its corner 
Glare out against blank walls 

I turn to the stairway. 
The stair treads that mom hooked 
With her children’s profiles on them 
Are still there 
Secured with my father’s nails. 

I step on the silhouettes of my siblings, 

Up on the landing, I lean through the door  
Of my sister's room. 
Cable cords are in a snake bundle under the windows 
Hemmed back by hollow space. 

Still my sister’s room 
All these years later. 

I turn to  
Still my room. 
It is for a little while longer. 
And always 

The persistent bed and desk 
Hold their space in the past. 
The dresser with the record player. 
Ghosts of my clothes sloppying the floor. 

For a moment I am him. 
Or me.  
The me back then. 
Slipping out of my sneakers 
Without untying them. 

Dreaming my way out of a hated 
Scribbling high school poems 

Records spinning 
On the stereo 
Over and over so the grooves deepened.  

Typing poems, 
to be given 
to scattershot loves. 

Hours long phone calls with 
scattershot lovers.  
Tangling my fingers in the coiled cord. 

Even the great escape to college 
Was followed by the return  
at each break 
Head hung like a parole breaker  
returning to a cell. 

I come back to now. 
I shake my head. 
Those small turmoils 
Were so huge. 

It was hard, sure, 
But it was so easy. 

Dreams I’m still dreaming 
Bloomed in this room. 
Achievements I only glimpsed here 
Have been accomplished. 

Talking to me back then 
I say: 
“I made you proud. 
A lot of your dreams came true. 
I haven’t done all you wanted, 
but you know: 
I’m starting to believe that’s part of the point.” 

I’m back on the stairs    
Descending through emptiness. 
At the bottom, 
I cry enough to feel like 
I got that part done. 

I pause in the family room. 
It is already changing. 
Becoming not mine. 
Not my families. 

Always ours. 
Not yet the new families’ always. 

For them 
A space awaits.  

One thought on “High Meadow Lane

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s