Sometimes, a house can be a living thing. Our house in Stoneham, Massachusetts was like that. It had been in our family for four generations, and when we finally emptied it out, it was like a funeral.
Our footsteps echoed off the hardwood floors when we walked through it for the last time, reminding us that empty spaces can sometimes speak the loudest. The walls, naked and barren, still framed the places where family portraits had rested: a collection of empty wreaths to mark the sad occasion.
“Closing Up the House”(In the Cat’s Eye, 2009) tells its story.
Glenn K. Currie
Closing Up the House
The walls were wrinkled,
Filled with laugh lines
And the stains of tears.
Cracks leaked plaster
From a body worn.
It smelled of all of us,
A scent of life lived.
Children and Christmas trees,
Old magazines and dirty laundry,
Death and sex and dried flowers.
She sat on a pull-out bed,
Surrounded by the litter of years,
Age breaking the bargain
That keeps a house a home.
A caretaker ready to be a care taker.
The dust of living
Scurried across well-traveled floors,
Unnerved by strangers’ sudden movements.
Gathering in remote corners
As darkness settled in.