It wasn’t an empty house, not really.
It was the skeleton of family, filled
with the ghost of memories,
a kitchen wall tattooed with faded pencil lines
measuring the monthly growth of us kids,
holes in the wall where family photos once hung,
carpet frayed and stained with scuff marks
of soccer shoes and sneakers and handprints
of little ones trying to keep up.
A bathroom with claw and paw scrapes
from the time our dog tried to escape,
a patched screen from when he succeeded,
leaving pawprints on his way out. Ash and
wine stains on the card table and chairs from
weekly card games with neighbors and friends
while we kids pretended to sleep soundly upstairs.
These ghosts of memories still inhabit the house,
now barren, except for the FOR SALE sign outside.
And yes, the house might sell, but never the home.
Shelly Blankman and her husband, Jon, live in Columbia, Maryland with their three rescue cats and foster dog. Their latest rescue, Pan, was found during the pandemic, for which she is named. Shelly is the mom of two adult sons, Richard and Joshua, who are quarantined in New York and Texas (respectively) at this time. They recently surprised her with a collection of her poetry, entitled Pumpkinhead. Besides writing poetry, Shelly spends time making cards, memory books, scrapbooking, and of course, refereeing pets.
© 2021, Shelly Blankman