by Marjorie Maddox

Shadows bloom and wilt across the patio,
our new home sheds flakes of bright paint,
and, of course, it is October; the neighbors we don’t know
hang pumpkin lights like lamb’s blood over the threshold,
and from their porch rocking chairs stare at us, the strangers.

We disguise ourselves with smiles and wave.
And why not? Let the leaves fall and the grass grow high,
our new life floats around us in the frost-free air,
and we own the chaos of autumn; the weeds
would grow between our toes if we’d linger

into another two seasons. We are giddy enough
for a picket fence or a pink flamingo
and bring out Baby to see the splendor.
“Here,” we say like good parents, “is the color red
and over there, the irrepressible orange of joy.”

SOURCE: Previously published in Local News from Someplace Else and Your Daily Poem.

PHOTO: “White Picket Fence” by Edward Fielding. Prints available from


NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: As your prompt suggests and a number of my poems in Local News from Someplace Else show, moving to a new location can bring about a range of emotions, from fear and extreme loneliness to excitement and contentment. Although I have many that address the former, here is one about the latter, written soon after my daughter was born and we had just moved out of a duplex into our first “home.”

PHOTO: The author in 2012 with her nephew Tatum on the rocking chair mentioned in the poem.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Sage Graduate Fellow of Cornell University (MFA) and Professor of English and Creative Writing at Lock Haven University of Pennsylvania, Marjorie Maddox has published 11 collections of poetry—including True, False, None of the Above (Poiema Poetry Series); Local News from Someplace Else (Wipf and Stock); Wives’ Tales (forthcoming 2016 Seven Kitchens Press), Transplant, Transport, Transubstantiation (Yellowglen Prize); and Perpendicular As I (Sandstone Book Award)—the short story collection What She Was Saying (2017 Fomite Press), and over 450 stories, essays, and poems in journals and anthologies. Co-editor of Common Wealth: Contemporary Poets on Pennsylvania (Penn State Press), she also has published two children’s books with several forthcoming. For more information, please see