41 emerson

the red couch. a yellow bedroom looking out over the backyard. the pear tree that grew up into dad’s bedroom window. the green rug down the hall. talking across the driveways. the green bathroom that smelled like thunderstorms. the kitchen with yellow glass cabinet doors and silver flower handles. peter, paul, and mary always playing somewhere in the distance. the towering front door, black and chipping. the dining room with windows along the side of the house, following the path through the hostas. the squirrels that made a home above the chandelier, the chandelier that now hangs in our current dining room. the tiger lilies surrounding the cherry tree, the birch trees, hydrangea bushes, tomatoes and cucumbers and eggplant. the pussywillow next to the garage. the brown light that filtered in onto the old volkswagen. the dogwood that housed cicada shells. the rose bush that bloomed that red and bright only once: the day i was brought home from the hospital. collecting chestnuts across the street. soaring down the hill on our bicycles and scooters, learning about gravity and brakes. when the forest and swamp was bulldozed into a cul-de-sac. when my brother bled from his forehead on the first front steps built there. the japanese maple in the neighbor’s yard. the small, strange cemetery on the loop-around. the first time i saw maggots, inside a dead pigeon. the red bridge. the smell of the long island sound. all of the green. i have been that color since the day i was born. when we moved, they painted the door red, as it always should have been, and put green curtains in my bedroom window. i learned that my grandfather’s room became the baby’s room--that life tiptoes in death. i dream about that house and life ten years later. sometimes i dream people into it that didn’t exist then. nostalgia holds a mirror up to it, makes everything look larger than it appeared. but it continues to be palpable. like my fingers in the rotary phone dial. opening and closing the milk box that continued to be used. putting that single cassette on repeat. the potted tree in the living room that bled its own kind of blood when you broke the leaves open. cracking the leaves open still to this day to look back into that house on the top of that hill, that life of magic, the very real, palpable parts of me that bleed for it still. how it will never exist that way again.

S