Ode to the Yellow House

Ode to the Yellow House

Both of my babies were born
in front of a blue couch
inside a little yellow house
we named after the radical socialist
Eugene V. Debs.

Alice came in August
the house still adjusting
to our presence
our belongings
and we offered it
our baby’s first cry,
late-night sleep-deprived quarrels,
the soft touch of
small hands and knees
across its carpet.

People joined us in this house
Elaine, rest in peace,
early to rise and battle with the coffee pot,
Robert, who lectured while he cooked for thirty.
Scott, a jolly wandering philosopher and
Josh, whom we never should have
left home alone while on vacation in Colorado.
Now we know.

Then Leo came on the coldest day in February
a little blue at first
and quiet
until he realized there was no going back to the womb.
I remember how he dozed, swaddled
in a bouncy seat in the living room
as I devoured sleep,
and David composed
original music
about the warming of this planet
and our eventual fate.

More people joined us in the house after that.
There was Peggy who swept the floor
with a magic broom and
Michael who planned BBQs and read books to the children and
Crystal who was so broken
her brain could not make sense
of our reality.

Little yellow house, you have been so hospitable.
Even the bed bugs liked it here, for a time.

From the south facing bedroom window
we have watched the giant maple sprout
small red buds in the spring
and grow its leaves
into green hands that spread open for our shade.
We have watched them turn yellow,
the ones at the top first,
and float down to cover the
garden, the driveway,
the tree’s own massive roots.

Little yellow house,
yesterday morning I sat in your quiet embrace
the morning sun beaming through your windows.
I looked out at the garden beds, the blueberry bushes.
I breathed in the bright walls and exhaled.

I am letting go, I said out loud.
I am letting go of the gardens.
I love them
but they are not mine.
I am letting go of this house.
I love you
but you are not mine.
I am letting go of my life here
I love it
but it is not mine to keep.

So we will empty your rooms of our things.
We will take stock of our memories.
We will summon courage and faith
for a journey that will lead us into the unknown.
How strange in this moment
to stand before two paths
and choose
the mystery.

Oh Spirit!
Take our tears and water the seeds of hope
within our souls.
Take care of our deep roots
and transplant us in fertile soil.
After we blossom, send our fruit
back here to nourish our friends.
And tell my little yellow house,
Thank you.

— Laura Lasuertmer

One thought on “Ode to the Yellow House”

  1. swaddled
    in a bouncy seat in the living room
    as I devoured sleep

    I breathed in the bright walls and exhaled

    Such a beautiful evocation of the love for a house, and the life lived therein. MKP

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