Archive for March, 2009

Harbor House

Posted in Poetry with tags , , , on March 26, 2009 by bodhitsattva

I got my period at 11. My mother said, “I hope you don’t leave bloody underwear on your bedroom floor for the dog to chew.” I would have to wear crotchless rags to school. I grew up never wearing panties. I’d bunch my knickers in corners, but the dog would always find them, lured in by unwashed towels, cheerleading socks, cups, pens, dust, paper, purses, make-up, sneakers, flip-flops, bathing suits, bras, pictures, magazines, weed, bong water, beer, chips, cookie crumbs, clay, fake silver, head bands, pajamas, cigarettes, and old coffee. Now, I own the house. The front door’s key reads Defiant, the master bedroom’s Fruitless. Odd embossing for unlocking in the dark. Renters get wordless copies. I pay the mortgage, but I never learned to clean the tub. What began as an act of defiance-the clutter, the dust, the bloody rags-kept me a child who can’t care for herself. Morganne, my roommate, 22, two years my junior, taught me to clean my tub with Ajax and a sponge and rubber gloves because I’ve never trusted anyone over 30. Tenant friends, lovers, drug users, aliens, magicians, artists, shape shifters, and pedagogues move in and out around me. They leave TVs-I have six!-broken microwaves, power tools, shoes, mirrors, school projects, knobs, lamps, chairs, empty bottles, dressers, coffee pots, ceramics, street signs, paint, CDs, desks, movies, clocks, and cook books. My house is a harbor for their abandoned possessions. Unable to decide what’s worth keeping, I cling to it all. If I dump the junk lining the garage walls, I’ll stop getting yeast infections. I’ll put my face to the cold, clean cement floor and for the first time feel this space for which I am responsible.