mccarthy door
Boarded Up
by Mary McCarthy

The door to my house
of memory and dream
that sheltered us so long
from wind and storm
and the hard turns
that catch you unaware
and hold you there
like a bird stuck in ice
when the lake hardens
in a sudden freeze–

that was the door
to all I knew
of fruits and flowers
my lilacs and lilies
raspberries warm
in the sun
and Mayapples on the hill
under the oaks
rising each year
from the dust and leaf duff
shy as young girls
beneath a parasol of leaves–

that was the door
we always came back to
from journey or exile
carrying our weariness and grief
to where rest and comfort waited
like sweet forgiveness–

that was the door we closed
on all our worst intentions
the ones that betrayed us
and the ones we used so well
to wound and cut
what would take years to heal–

that was still the door to home
where we always found
love’s welcome generosity
that kept us coming back
and fueled the engines
of our fine delight–
That door we closed
three years ago
and moved too far
for any of my most
familiar flowers–

And now the stores of memory
like the house behind that door
still so much a part of me
was gutted by a chimney fire
leaving it ruined, empty,
blackened and boarded up
behind police tape–

and I mourn
like an orphan
a widow
the last survivor
of a lost world
the last speaker
of a language full of words
no one will ever sing again

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I was surprised by how upset I was to learn my old home, where we had lived for 35 years, had burned and was no longer inhabitable. After all, we had sold the house and would never be returning. Yet I mourned it as a terrible loss, even in my dreams.

mary mccarthy copy

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Mary McCarthy has always been a writer, but spent most of her working life as a Registered Nurse. Her work has appeared in many journals and anthologies, she has been a Pushcart nominee, and has an electronic chapbook, Things I Was Told Not to Think About, available as a free download from Praxis Magazine.