Pride beams from my freshly painted porch
a spotless home for The Perry Family,
for Hiram and Mary to grow their affection
into a family- they will fill my three grand bedrooms
paled only by the master, with marble fireplace to match
the two hearths downstairs. Hidden discretely
a second world for those hired
to live, sleep within me as nannies and cooks,
those who will learn my second staircase,
the vast kitchen, and my underbelly where lies
my heart to heat three floors through the coldest months.
A daughter married, a son has died, depression hits my family
moves away. Forty years has worn my paint,
sunk smooth grooves into my steps. I am abandoned,
pipes freeze, windows break. No human inhabitants
to shelter between my still strong and sturdy walls,
a purposeless structure, I await The Perry’s return,
the family that built me I hope to house once more.
But as my basement fills with ice as the winter’s frost
slowly sneaks in, I long for anyone to walk
these bare wood floors again.
I was revived and immediately divided, a house
now fit for two. Half of me devoted to families who
rent the first floor, with towering ceilings I am granted
lofty state to watch over the leased. My upper floor
an office bearing the proud letters D.M.D. and my
master bedroom, now filled with the crack of
nervous patients knuckles and an air of romance that
floats between doctor and secretary. The rains steady
fall on an October night made my gutters sob
as the doctor brings his wife after hours, ends the vows
tied to his ring finger – with curved dental scalpel, he is
surprised by the quickness of a cut to the neck
after years of carefully planned slices to gums.
I am always filled with these girls- young women
no older than Mrs.Perry when the newlyweds moved in,
but they are different. Wearing letters I cannot read,
strange behaviors that even through a hundred years
I had never seen. When the week closed and days grew dark
how I would fill with people, speakers in every room,
knobs turned high, pulse with deep bass. My stairs
a stumble hazard, my walls secure to stabilize.
Morning’s rays reveal the rubble left behind
of plastic cups, sticky floors, and little hope
that any of the girls will clean.
Every year a new set comes, eight people
under my roof. Like the girls, they are young,
and though they may get mud on my floors,
or fill my sink with dishes, they always wake
to clean me anew. I used to wish for
the Perry’s return, to have those who once
built me reside here again. After the years,
however, I’ve found I’m happiest
when midnight strikes and all those who
live at 174 West Third are tucked in
safe in the warmth of my walls.