Monday, October 9, 2017

"Bless this House" by Terri Lynn Cummings

Bless this House
Terri Lynn Cummings

Barns raise their hats 
over the plain’s long gown
as I drive to the town 
where children grow like weeds
(as elders used to say)

Once white streets
cheeks ruddy from the iron                                   
of ancestors and kiss of earth
trace the past’s margins
Tar divides the road

into sections, quarters
where children challenge
games of Four Square
basketball bouncing
from corner to corner

Mothers glance through windows 
unafraid of cars running 
over daughters and sons
who welcome sun on shoulders 
without the slather of sunscreen

unknown as a safety belt
Now neglect peels from houses
starves gardens
rusts litters of cars and toys 
Spring scratches patches

like a hen seeking seeds
I face the house
with weeping mortar
spot the dwarf persimmon – 
a bush that christens our first house 

sheds petals on the past
tender as an infant’s skull
having nowhere else to fall
but down my throat

Poet’s Notes:  The day I visited my parent’s graves, I drove past the first house my parent’s owned. I was three years old when we moved in, but I remember my father planting the dwarf persimmon bush. Our home held the precious coins of my childhood, shiny as sunlight. Yet time passed its hand over its face. So I wrote my longing to go back in time, visit my parents, first friends, neighbors, and the street where I belonged.  

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