The House on Kingston Avenue

This week’s poem in the Catholic Poetry Room is by Karen D’Anselmi.


The House on Kingston Avenue

I had no curb appeal, no details to restore
and they never could afford an addition
or updates to my electrical system,
or to tame rattling windows, soothe creaking floors.
 
Yet I held them while they held their children:
child rocking in the womb, child clinging at the breast;
I held their favorite toys and the broken toy chest.
I held all the weeping and hiding and building.
 
Chubby-legged toddlers tumbled on my porch, 
constructed foreign cities of wooden blocks,
then sprawled out in passionate late-night talks
and escaped me by streetlight, the neighborhood torch.
 
I was their shelter for every new stage:
their nursery and castle, with prisoners of war—
like a bureau with too much crammed in each drawer— 
I held coming-of-age pains and pains of old age.
 
I hosted their failures and each grand endeavor,
I was classroom, lab, thinktank and chapel
Within me they pondered, prayed, and grappled -
and wished for a home that would last forever.

Karen D’Anselmi writes from the Hudson Valley of New York.  Many of her poems are about family, faith, and the mystery of life.

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