Home : Strangers Live in My House – Lit Up – Medium

The picture is my own. The house isn’t any longer.

Lit Up — May’s Prompt: Nostalgia

I still remember
the cloying scent of pine
the resistance against the draw knives
as we peeled the flesh from the logs
pitch, like tar
tree’s blood
trapping dirt and grime in its sticky embrace
leaving patches on my blistered hands

I still remember
the short afternoons
between school and work
shoveling snow from the layers of plastic
protecting the bones of our new home 
from the ravages of the elements
creating walls where there were none
one dead tree at a time

I still remember
twice daily trips to the hardware store
a necessary, tedious chore
hold this mark that
what do you think of these fixtures
even after you move in you’re never done
you don’t own the home
the home owns you

I still remember 
a cold winter’s bedroom
no carpet
no heat
apologies that it isn’t as big as it looked
on paper
and the unfamiliar angle
of sunrise in a new home

I still remember
summer afternoons spent splitting firewood
chop here 
stack there
ninety minutes to mow the lawn
weeds every other week 
let’s paint the walls today
plowing out the driveway in the frozen dark

I still remember
christmas trees in the living room
the crackle of a fire in the stove
comforting red-orange glow
board games on the table
that we only ate at around twice a year
movies and hot drinks 
on cold winter’s nights

I don’t remember
everything falling apart
because I wasn’t there for that
I don’t recall 
how it all came crumbling down
everything that we built
shredded and left behind
discarded like a worthless thing

I still remember
the way it felt 
to return to the mountains
and realize that I had nowhere to stay
Just another flat-lander
in my own hometown
The walls I built with my own hands
were occupied by strangers

I still remember
the words of a better poet
you can’t go home again 
the sardonic laughter
as the irony of the literal
settles in around my heart
the one that I buried deep
inside those walls of pine


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