The picture above is a cabin built out of refurbished wood from my grandpa and grandma Green’s home. It was built on their land, and I love it.
I entered this particular poem in a contest a few months back but did not win. However, I enjoyed writing it, and since my husband and I just moved into our new home, with the lights of Hanukkah shining brightly, it seemed like a good time to post it. I hope you enjoy it!
Even the quilts were tired here.
The bedraggled mattress sagged like an old man’s baggy trousers.
The tile floors were worn, and the grout had crept away little by little with every sweep.
The stairs hung like a sunken ship,
it’s stepping too exhausted to hold up feet.
The chairs, with their feeble legs, refused to offer any bones a place to sit.
The walls held each other in an embrace that looked like men coming home from battle.
One huff and one puff from the wolf would collapse the rooms like a cardboard box
still, the house hung on for dear life.
Rumples and cracks filled corners like spider webs.
The ceilings, with their age spots and vein lines, gave way to the constant dripping of tears that needed proper patching.
Pipes coughed up hairballs but never found the strength to feel a river run through them again.
The windows plucked their bushy eyebrows by shedding the moth-eaten clothes that covered their eyes. The sun had given up trying to shine through their glass panes coated in grime.
The front door hung on one hinge, swaying to the sound of the mulberry trees mournful refrains from the yard.
The foundation raised up in a few places, trying to gasp for a breath of strength but never falling back into place—stuck in passing.
The cupboards echoed with emptiness, no longer a place where little hands grasped the delicacies hidden on shelves.
No more little feet were running to greet its arms.
The shades closed their eyes, and the chimney stopped its breath.
And the dilapidated old house, board by board, was falling to its death.
The autopsy revealed it had died of a lonely heart.
One day some men came.
The house straightened his torso as best he could and attempted to hold the beams and the boards for the men’s girth and weight.
One young man looked familiar.
As if the walls held bits of his laughter,
Smudges of his fingers and words soaked in plaster
Yes, the house had felt his presence. He was sure of it now.
Another man yelled, “Shall we bulldoze it and throw the wood in the fire?”
Another mouthed, “Yeah, doesn’t look like there is much left here to savage.”
The house gathered all his strength and mouthed an exhausted, “no.”
The following week a young man in a truck took the bones and stacked each limb; even the stair rail was placed neatly in the bed of the pick-up.
“Where are you taking me?” the disjointed pieces asked.
Shiplap, and refurbishing the old with the new, and the tired house straightened its shoulders as each piece was nailed in place. Each limb was given a new anchor to hold.
Once again was heard the sound of tiny feet, a bark, a yell, a chimney sweep–music and laughter, and chatter galore.
The old house felt as useful here with his new friends as before.
The windows needed no scrubbing. The stairs were sturdy and straight, and the stars danced on the roof with the sound of rain.
It’s like a dream, thought the house as he looked around. Freshly coated paint and shiny new floors. No mildew, no spiders, no rotten floors. No broken-down bedding or sheets with stains and the old boards embraced the books on the shelf, the scent of babies and freshly baked breads.
Suddenly, the front door opened, sturdy and straight adorned with a brass knocker, and from the front yard, a new maple tree waved as the new owners invited their guests to enter the threshold.
“I love what you’ve done with the place! Using grandpa and grandma Green’s wood from the old homestead was a magnificent idea!”
And the chairs in the kitchen straightened their backs as the children sat down to enjoy a meal. The adults held their glasses up for a toast, “May peace, joy, health, kindness, and good fortune live here!”
And the house straightened his posture, and bowed his head and in appreciation said