To a New Beginning
by Heidi Hermanson

After years in the perfect idyllic apartment, I moved in a rather quick fashion. A meth-addled (it was said) drummer moved in below me. He drummed late into the night, each night. The landlord did nothing. I could have stayed, fought it out, as my neighbors decided to, but it was taking a serious toll on my health. Sleep-deprived, I was just holding on by my fingernails.

My apartment here is fresh with new paint, new carpet, homier than my urban apartment, light and airy. We moved 28 boxes, four plastic sealing tubs, and six satchels (“I don’t care how organized anyone is, at the last minute you’re still grabbing crap and throwing it into satchels” my sister says).

One dresser, which was clearly falling apart, was left behind. My grandparents’ solid, plain (just like them) dresser stuffed with clothes was moved intact by the movers.

How can one person amass so much in 10 years? While moving, I thought of my friend Dave’s poem, “The Myth of the Souls in Hell,” about people with eyes put out, who had to drag around for eternity everything they had amassed in Life.

“Don’t even put up pictures,” my aunt (what they used to call a home-ec major in her day), advised. “Just enjoy the negative space.”

But “Coffee with Jesus,” a small whimsical painting, went near the breakfast nook. I’ve hung moon chimes and other chimes. Pictures are stacked against walls, waiting impatiently. It’s still not home, and I’m reluctant to unpack more. Part of me thinks I’ll be forced to move again soon, still wounded, flight-or-fight.

Kind, well-meaning people keep saying, “change is good.” I’m sure it is; but it’s also stressful, frustrating, and heartbreaking. There’s a Yiddish saying: a new house means a new life. We’ll hope for the best. It’s all we can do.

IMAGE: Moon and Stars Wind Chime available at


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Heidi Hermanson has been published in Midwest Quarterly, Hiram Poetry Review, the Omaha World Herald (”Nebraska On A Dollar a Day”), and elsewhere. She organized the first Poets’ Chautauqua at the State Fair and there released her first chapbook, Midwest Hotel. In 2010, she won the Omaha Public Library’s annual poetry contest and performed her winning work accompanied by Silver Roots, a New York-based violin and flute duo. In 2014, Heidi became a nominee for a Pushcart Prize. She has read at the John R Milton Conference in Vermillion, South Dakota; at the Bowery Poetry Club in New York City; at Tunes in the Town Square (which features poetry at the band’s break) in Ralston, Nebraska; on the Kerry Pedestrian Bridge over the Missouri; and at the Roebuck Pub in England. In her spare time, she hopes to open a library of maps to towns that do not exist and learn the dialects of the seven-year cicada.