The House of Memories
by Sarah Pritchard
She is held by his big hands at the end
of his heavy overcoat framing
a stony face beneath his flat cap.
Their lives’ things are tugged at
strained, boxed and clutched
out of the gaping front door.
Unmoved men move the hall mirror that saw
dozens of friends pass by.
The elder girl hugs the old sewing machine
that threaded together her own clothes
that would keep young bones warm until they
stretched beyond her reach.
The bulb is bare now below the bedroom
she slept in with him a thousand nights
through sickness and health of
babies’ sickly, gurgling, toddlings and parental catchings.
The gate has been removed for the removing.
She holds her chin over the knot
of her headscarf
holds onto the family portrait in her other
holds it all, holds her breath and looks
PAINTING: “The House of Memories” by Claudia Williams.
NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: The painting and poem are about the flooding of a Welsh village to create a reservoir providing water for Liverpool. Villagers had to abandon their homes and the community was destroyed. As someone who has moved frequently, the story of these displaced individuals affected me deeply.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Sarah Pritchard is a Norfolk-born U.S. military baby, made in Manchester, UK. Published anthologies include Beyond Paradise, The West in Her eyes, Urban Poetry, Nailing the Colours, Manchester Poets Volume 3, and Rain Dog.