April prompt #16

IMG_3094April prompt #16

If the house was burning and you could rescue one thing, what would it be and why?

David’s #4

~assuming my husband and cats are safe, of course

I think I’d save the dollhouse that my parents
made for my fortieth birthday. The shingled
roof, the little doors and windows, the wardrobe
with its tiny hinges and a lion
and a witch penciled in inside. When I
open the bench, I see “Hi Mame” in my
father’s precise printing. It’s a name no one
calls me now. And Mother made the curtains
and the bedding—embroidered pillow slips
and quilts. She painted a canvas rug like
a watermelon slice. Oh, there are other
things I might miss: photographs, a few books,
Grandmother’s cinnabar vase. But yes, I’d
save the dollhouse, this sign that I’m
ascended from people who care.




Always, while you slept,
we crept from our painted beds
and pattered
through the quiet house,
trailing the hems of our nightgowns
and annoying the watchful cats.

Now we sleep in a box in the attic,
the delicate among us
wrapped in paper.
The door is locked
and we do not have a key.

When the cold room
is lightened by the moon,
we sit on a broken cot
to read old letters we’ve mined
from Grandma’s trunk.

Sometimes we listen at the door
and hear your solemn murmurings,
but we do not comprehend
that far-off tongue.

We long for your hands and eyes,
for stories and buggy rides,
for cambric tea
on summer afternoons.

We ponder the photographs
of little girls
and the brother with his hammer.
We recall how Grandma sewed
our dresses and coats
with buttons and lace,
with careful, even seams.