My House - A Sestina


United States
42° 25' 38.9892" N, 71° 6' 33.1236" W

The old, faded wallpaper hangs on the walls
Ripped in spots where the cat has tested her claws
And where the wall meets the post of my bed.
Small birds peck at the breadcrumbs thrown into the yard,
Which I can see from the windows of the kitchen,
And ducks mingle with swans on the river.

There is a certain blue-green tint to the river
Which contrasts nicely to the red and beige pattern covering my walls –
Except for the yellow painted walls of the kitchen.
“Tic-tac!” cries the wooden floors as my cat skips with sharpened claws
Out the door and into the potential feast she sees in the yard,
Though she will come back ashamed and empty-handed as always when she curls up in bed.

I’ve far outgrown my cramped room and small bed
And there are no more scary monsters lurking in the river.
I no longer fit in the sandbox in my yard
And I can stretch up to the crown molding on the walls.
I no longer shriek in pain from being pierced by my cat’s claws
And I can reach all the way across the table in the kitchen.

I still remember the day I found myself able to see the top shelf in the kitchen
And I remember when I first stuck my toes out off the end of my bed.
I remember when my cat first grew her claws
And I remember when I went boating by myself on the river.
I remember walking into the empty room of a sister gone to college and seeing blank walls,
And I remember breaking a swing, which I had swung on freely in years past, in my yard.

Now, there are other young neighbors who play in the sandbox in my yard,
Which their parents safely monitor from the windows of the kitchen.
Now, some of the wallpaper is being torn to make way for new paint on the walls,
And guests stay the night in my room while sleeping on my bed.
Now, there is more brown than anything else in the murky river,
And it’s been a while since my cat trapped anything in her claws.

But there’s a beauty to the lazy art of pillow fluffing my old cat has taken up with her claws,
And a new vegetable garden is flourishing in the yard.
More people float along and appreciate the splendor of the river,
And they wave and honk if they see someone in my kitchen.
The sheets are always crisp and nicely made on my bed,
And life goes on, as it did before me, within the walls.


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