Another Move
by Siwsan Gimprich

By the time I was three
I’d lived in four houses, flown
in two planes, twice been driven
across the state of New York –
no mean feat for the rusty
Hudson-Nash station wagon we could
afford. Peripatetic is a most apt
description of my childhood.
Never more than five years in a place.
But we were a family
Dad, Mom, and me,
then James and John,
an occasional dog or cat
and always the garden.
Vegetables put up every fall
the rainbow shelves
bottles of beans, green and wax, tomatoes,
carrots, and beets. Jars of luscious
spiced peaches and pears.
Sweet, fragrant bushels
from a farmer’s roadside stand had been transformed
into magical orbs of spices and mystery.
They fed us through the winter.
They were home. That and the books.
The books that attended us in every move.
Agassi and Eliot. Linaeus and Kipling.

One winter we chased Old Possum’s cats
and the next, we explored jungles
with Mowgli, my dad’s voice
growling and hissing in the night.
Home had changed location when I was 3 months,
3 years, 6, 10, 14, 15,
and then I left home, for the first time
when I was 17, and then, permanently
when I was 21.
At first I was homeless.
not destitute and streetbound,
but without that home I had never
been without. Away,

I floated just an inch
or so, above the floor. Tethered by hair,
so long I could hide myself
as I gave myself – a handful
of air and clouds building.
One day, I sat. on a sofa
made of wood. I held a warm
cup and watched as sparrows hopped
from the clothesline outside my kitchen
window down to a window sill on the fourth floor.
Those birds, and the way I could feel
the grumbling of the subway
five floors down and then some
were a definition.

Home had changed meaning –
I hate it when that happens – words
intertwine and become something
else. The orbit and satellites altered,
but I was still in a capsule
of books and now,
it was Beethoven and Lowell
or Mendelssohn and Strand.
A reconfiguration, but home,

PHOTO: The author with her mother and brothers in Grand Forks, North Dakota (Easter 1965).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: This poem emerged from the wonderful prompt by Silver Birch (one of many that have resulted in good work). As always, I write, some call it muse-driven, and then clean up.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Siwsan Gimprich grew up, as she says, peripatetically, criss-crossing the Midwest. She has grown roots in New Jersey since the birth of her eldest, 35 years ago. Writing has been a constant throughout her life. Sometimes at a peak and other times at a complete standstill, but always the way she measures herself.