Archives for posts with tag: houses

I Reached Back
by Jeannie E. Roberts

Beneath the deck,
chunks of broken concrete punctuated the ground.
Convened in darkness,
scattered portions of the back steps
collected near my hands and knees.
Inching along the loose dirt,
gathering the breakage,
I noticed something pink—
a doll shoe.
When silver caught my eye—
a child-sized fork.
As I continued to sift through the earth,
a penny emerged; black rind obscured its year.
Hot, soapy water revealed its making: 1978,
the year before I graduated from college.
How many families inhabited this house,
I wonder?
Here, children’s handprints graced the sidewalk.
Relics of the first owners?
The tiny hands reached out. I reached back.

On my hands and knees,
inching along the loose dirt,
an ocean of love swelled beneath the deck.
In shining waves of work glove delight,
my new-old house—
built in 1952, painted in Ocean Swell Blue—
reached back,
echoed the memories of my childhood
and the sweetness of growing up in an age
that convened in technological darkness,
where our living room brightened with laughter
and family,
with a two-dial,
black and white TV.

PHOTO: Found objects beneath the deck: fork, penny, and doll shoe. Photo by the author. 

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Recently, I moved back to my hometown of Minneapolis, Minnesota. My house is located near my son and other family members. After 22 years of living in another state, I’m rediscovering myself, so to speak. For a couple of months, I’ve been cleaning, fixing, organizing, and unearthing things, including memories and found objects like the penny, tiny fork, and doll shoe. I’ve thankfulness for a full life, where everything shines as an extraordinary contribution to my day.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR; Jeannie E. Roberts has authored seven books, five poetry collections, and two illustrated children’s books. Her most recent collection, As If Labyrinth – Pandemic Inspired Poems, was released in 2021 by Kelsay Books. Her eighth book, The Ethereal Effect – A Collection of Villanelles, is forthcoming from Kelsay Books (2023). Her work appears in numerous anthologies and publications. She’s an award-winning artist and poet, a Best of the Net nominee, and a poetry editor of the online literary magazine Halfway Down the Stairs. She finds peace outdoors, listening to birds, identifying plants, noticing Earth’s beauty while practicing gratitude along the way. For more, please visit: or Jeannie E. Roberts | Facebook.

Waiting for Home
by Martina Gallegos

Until the beginning of my teen years, I lived with my family in a modest two-bedroom, one small kitchen my parents built after marriage. Originally, our home was only one bedroom and no kitchen. We had no restroom either, and we took care of our business practically in the open, only to be ridiculed by our two-story home neighbors.

Eventually, mom divided our one bedroom into two and asked someone to build another bedroom to her specifications, and that, in turn, became dad’s bedroom, and I felt sad that my parents were in different bedrooms and no longer telling us bedtime stories, and I kept waiting for the day we could all share the same bedroom again.

Many times, I despaired when I saw that other families had parties and lots of good food my family didn’t and would never have, and I wanted to run away from home, but I didn’t know where or how I’d do it. And because I never had peace anywhere, I am still waiting for that elusive peaceful and loving home.

PAINTING: Bungalow by Howard Arkley (1987)

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: After I graduated from university as a bilingual elementary school teacher and got a job, I figured it was time to start thinking about buying a house, but it wasn’t meant to be until more than 20 years later. After saving all I could for the down payment, I applied for a house at a project for first-time, low-income buyers, but because of unethical people involved in the project, I almost didn’t get my brand-new house. After toppling all kinds of barriers, I got my house and moved in with my then three-and-a-half-year-old daughter. And just as the process had begun with problems, it continued for 20 years and became my American nightmare instead of my American Dream. To this day, I continue to fight housing injustices and discrimination. I’m hoping to sell the nightmare and finally be able to purchase a part of the true American Dream.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Martina Gallegos was born and raised in Mexico. While recuperating from a work injury and stroke, she earned a Master’s degree from Grand Canyon University. Her work has appeared in the Altadena Poetry Review: Anthology (2015 and 2017), Hometown Pasadena, Spirit Fire Review, Poetry Super Highway, Silver Birch Press, Basta!, and others.  She was named one of the San Gabriel Valley’s top poets, and was a semi-finalist in an amateur national poetry competition. She lives in Oxnard, California.

Lynn with new front door
The New Front Door
by Lynn White

This house used to be two.
Two tiny houses
made one
a long time ago.
I painted the front door blue.
It looked good, made a smart entrance
open all hours to all but the largest of people.

Yes, it was rather narrow
but with 3-foot-thick walls each side
what could I do,
even the window had to come out
to let the new furniture in.
That was quite a nuisance

And so it stayed
until a few years ago
when the blue door became
a little shabby with age.
And a shiny new plastic door
was custom made to fit the space
at no little expense.

It was then that the builder discovered
the doorway had been modified,
blocked by broken bricks
a long time ago
and plastered to match the walls.
The original doorway was six inches wider
than the doors,
both of the doors
the old and the new.

But the discovery came too late.
The new door was ready
made at great expense
and so it was fitted
and it looks fine
shiny and white
and remaining open
to all but the largest of people.

The old furniture also looks fine.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Lynn White lives in north Wales. Her work is influenced by issues of social justice and events, places and people she has known or imagined. She is especially interested in exploring the boundaries of dream, fantasy, and reality. She was shortlisted in the Theatre Cloud “War Poetry for Today” competition and has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and a Rhysling Award. Her poetry has appeared in many publications, including Apogee, Firewords, Capsule Stories, Light Journal, and So It Goes. Find Lynn at and on Facebook.

Unlocking My Front Door
by Daniel McGinn

My front door turns
eggshell white
cracks open in the morning
as the sun’s great yoke
merges light into shadows
that break through tree leaves
shifting waving
calling its name

Stop stare for a spell
come see the white door
punched in the wall
of our blue house
appear to move
like a witch cloud brushed
into a tumbleweed crawl

Ancestors & descendants
given pass
step off the welcome mat
descend the stairs
down to the street
where worlds begin
& tumbleweeds spin

Every evening
shadows collect on the porch
to watch the sun drop scraped
from the plate
into the big black can

I don’t know why
my front door opens
with a dark sigh
on summer nights
stubbornly swells
against the frame
& refuses to budge
when it rains

Doors open & close
more like us
than we’d like to think
multiple lives
ring around rings
of unhinged days

Before the deadbolt
pierced its side
it was dressed in bark
with its own kind

Squirrels ran to its outstretched arms

Bluebirds twittered up & down
behind bright green wing shaped leaves

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I wasn’t sure what I could say about my front door. I wrote and revised it in several sittings but was unsure of how to approach this piece. Eventually, I decided it might be best to let my front door speak for itself.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Daniel McGinn’s work has been seen in Silver Birch Press, Spillway, Sadie Girl Press, Lummox, Bank Heavy Press, The OC Weekly, and numerous other magazines and anthologies. He received his MFA in writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts at the age of 61, and his most recent collection of poems, The Moon, My Lover, My Mother & The Dog, was published by Moon Tide Press.

Leaving Home
by Edie Ravenelle

At 55, I am finally leaving home.

But in walking through my now-empty childhood home one last time, I may as well be five, sitting on the speckled linoleum-tile floor of my playroom nook at the base of the back staircase, playing Barbies. Or 10, standing on a sturdy pine footstool at our 1960s Formica kitchen counter, cracking open the hazelnuts that my Czech mom will use to make my favorite Christmas cookies. Or 15, spinning and waltz-jumping across the early-winter black-ice on the pond behind my house, pretending to be Dorothy Hamill.

For the past nine months — nine months exactly from when my 91-year-old mom died and left me to clean out 62 years of “waste not, want not” accumulation — my 2,541 square foot childhood home has been a living, breathing time capsule. As I sorted everything into “save,” sell,” “donate,” or “toss,” my emotions followed suit. I was so happy to discover the post-World War II love letters that my parents had written to one another across an ocean. But sadness paused my purge of broken things when I again held the wall phone receiver that had transmitted the news of my older sister’s sudden death on her 30th birthday. And I actually laughed out loud when I read the tiny handwritten note pinned to a half-finished piece of exquisite petit point embroidery that my mom had stuffed into a reused plastic produce bag: “I started, you finish!”

It’s so like my mom to be telling me what to do, even now.

As I pull the front door closed behind me, I smile thinking about the mom, dad, and their two young children who will soon be moving in. Their realtor told mine that the mom is of Czech descent. I’m not at all surprised.

IMAGE: Vintage petit point embroidery of house.

Edie and Oma (5)

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Edie Ravenelle is a writer, editor and marketing communications consultant who lives west of Boston. Her marketing work has appeared in regional news media, and her creative work can be found at,, BannerBiz (Bay State Banner), and

PHOTO: The author  celebrating her mom’s 91st birthday on Oct. 15, 2015 in Sudbury, Massachusetts.

by Denise Levertov

This person would be an animal.
This animal would be large, at least as large
as a workhorse. It would chew cud, like cows,
having several stomachs.
No one could follow it
into the dense brush to witness
its mating habits. Hidden by fur,
its sex would be hard to determine.
Definitely it would discourage
investigation. But it would be, if not teased,
a kind, amiable animal,
confiding as a chickadee. Its intelligence
would be of a high order,
neither human nor animal, elvish.
And it would purr, though of course,
it being a house, you would sit in its lap,
not it in yours.
“What My House Would Be Like If It Were A Person” appears in Denise Levertov’s collection Poems 1972-1982 (New Directions, 2002)

PAINTING: “Hills, South Truro (Massachusetts)” by Edward Hopper (1930)

by Carl Sandburg

An open door says, “Come in.”
A shut door says, “Who are you?”
Shadows and ghosts go through shut doors.
If a door is shut and you want it shut,
     why open it?
If a door is open and you want it open,
     why shut it?
Doors forget but only doors know what it is
     doors forget.

…“Doors” is found in The Sandburg Range, the first representative selection from Sandburg’s entire body of work (poetry and prose) available at