First night in a different house.
The first out of another:
an old nourishing home that was always too cramped,
that we found a hindrance and complained about.
Still we decorated it gently,
draped lights and colorful tapestries about,
placed ornaments of our conquests and interests.
We loved in it and danced around
our humble space as if it were really our own.
We memorized its many creaks and mistakes
because they too were ours.
A natural extension of each of us, this home.
My wife gave birth in that small living room,
her beautiful butterfly legs familiar yet foreign.
Like a goddess perfect and strong and courageous
she sweated into the lukewarm
water and life embodied rose unscathed--
strange, remarkable life
to breathe our world's uncertain air.
Early spring and we watched in earnest for
blossoms on the hollowing apricot tree,
and Jarom ruined his arm climbing the ladder to pick them.
Sucking endlessly at their pale orange nectar and
crowding them in cardboard boxes and grocery bags.
The house faced south and had character but was still
ugly, dirtied once-white siding edged with metal and broken,
exposing brownblack underside
like a dark secret that everyone knows anyway.
But a rainbow of tulips nudged
through the soil and the grass greened
and was ringed by rosebushes and lilac,
so much beauty,
so much color and life in a new land:
a sacred place to us.
It was easy to leave, to gather
armfuls and boxed labeled belongings and slowly
fill different rooms.
Piles dwindled and we dusted
and vacuumed until floors gleamed and brightened and
cobwebs were finally removed then we turned out
all the lights and checked each room
and locked the doors and drove elsewhere.
A routine operation, clockwork.
But when we happen by once and once again
the haunting spirit of that place
fills us and memories burn again so molten,
reinforcing pathways, etching moments on us
like tattoos or windborne sand stinging your eyes.
These are magic things reborn
(as by the same crouched mother in a blowup pool in that room
when the seasons changed some time ago),
and like everything these too will fade, accidentally--
but our hearts and hands and the deepdown places in our minds
I'm sorry we left you, but
life moves as in a current
and things change that way too.
Yes you, our trembling house of strife and joy, you
will someday crumble or lie bulldozed but each
of our living memories there
will be recorded and remembered somewhere,
or by someone, because
nothing really ever leaves.
Although it often seems that way.
Now, here, I look around at these cold wooden floors,
the secret downward stairwell and pale
impersonal walls, the long backyard with
winter's shriveled grass stretched all across like dead skin,
the different smells everywhere,
the echoing hardness of this new unbroken place
and I smile
and look to the naked ceiling,
wondering will anything else change.
I'm sentimental, it's true. We just moved out of our house of the last four years. It was a little rental house that needed lots of love--and we gave it. Now four years might not seem long to some, but it is. It's a substantial amount of time. One-seventh of my life. We only had two kids when we moved in; now we have three. I turned 30 there. Big things occurred, lots of life involved. We miss that house, but it will always be special. And we love our new home already.