Home is the place…

While visiting my mother today, Kristina (a young and generous nurse’s aide) finished helping Mom’s roommate and then came over to say “Hi” to Mom.

Kristina – Maria, how are you on this fine afternoon?

Mom – Ahhhh Kristina, where have you been?

Kristina – Just starting my shift.  How was your weekend?

Mom – Okay.

Kristina – Anything exciting happen?

Mom (without hesitation) – Well, I almost got married.

Me – Huh?

Kristina – Almost?

Mom – I showed up too late and the shit-ass married someone else.

Kristina – I hope you at least got his credit card.

Mom – Can’t turn your back for a second around here.

Me – Ouch!

And last week at our poetry session, we talked about home and used our senses to describe it.  The lines of the following poem are not mine.  I just wrote down the resident’s responses to poetic prompts and then rearranged them into a collaborative poem.

Home is…

Home is the place where I hear
children yelling and screaming,
“Mommy, I’m hungry!”
“Mommy, he hit me!”
“Mommy, she won’t give me the ball back!”
It’s where I’d hear
the soothing sound and smell of the surf
and know I am home.
It’s where I’d open the front door
to the sound of the Grand Opera.
It was a joy to hear.
There was a time I memorized Madame Butterfly.
You had to feel it from the bottom of your heart.
Home is where I hear my father
playing the tuba.
He had to practice in the attic
because no one wanted to hear him play,
“Oom papa, oom papa, oooom papa”
over and over again.
My son used to play the guitar
and we’d sing with him,
melodious music.
Home is the kind of place
you’d like to go home to.

“I grew up smelling salt water
and then I got married and moved to Hartford
and all I could smell was a pond.”

Home is the place where I taste
ravioli at Thanksgiving,
roast lamb or veal cutlets at Easter,
tapioca and sweet buns made by my aunt,
roast pork and baked sweet potatoes
with butter and brown sugar.
I liked herring salad without the herring.
It was the place where we’d eat
warm, chocolate brownies
with vanilla ice cream.
Home is the kind of place
you’d like to go home to.

“Once, my mom got sick
and my brothers said, “You’re a girl.  You cook.”
Then they handed me a chicken.
I didn’t know you were supposed to clean
the inside of the bird, so I didn’t.”

Home is the place where I see
a robin red breast at the bird feeder,
where everything was painted white
and no one would dare leave a fingerprint.
It’s where I remember green –
green grass in spring,
the summer leaves in my back yard,
flowers in the garden.
Home is the kind of place
you’d like to go home to.

“What do you wish you had
to help you around the house?”
“An army!”  (this line from my mother)

Home is the place where I loved
my meat grinder,
my slow cooker – 10 hours to soup,
my vacuum cleaner
and the sound of dirt
being sucked up the tube,
my electric percolator – Wow!  It was sexy!
We had a tall telephone
in a closet, so you could close the door
and no one could hear what you were saying.
What did you say?
Home is the kind of place
you’d like to go home to.

”I loved my iron
because you’d take something crumpled,
smooth out its creases
and feel like you accomplished something.”

Collaborative poem
GHCC Poetry Group, July 28, 2011


About hereisakiss

Daughter Writer Art's Educator
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