Driving By the House I Grew Up In

Foot 4
By Ricki Mandeville

I stop at the curb,
wondering if the house remembers
my bare, slender foot creaking
its third stair at midnight
as I sneaked out to meet the boy
with too-long hair, the one Daddy said
was a bad influence,
or Mama’s peach pies steaming
on the sill in early afternoon,
or me, safe in bed again by 2 a.m.,
my small transgressions
tucked beneath pink sheets.

Does it remember goodbyes
echoing from the ceiling
to the hardwood floors
as my brother and I went away to college,
leaving our bedrooms hollow until Christmas
or the quadrangle of bright light
cast on the dry summer lawn
from the bathroom window
as I lined my eyes and fluffed my hair,
teetering in 5-inch heels?

Driving away, I sigh and watch it recede
in my rear-view mirror,
crouching like a pale clapboard ghost
among hollies and junipers,
eyes shuttered as though dreaming:
its banisters sleek again
beneath my childish hand.

– King Author, 2010

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