(In my grandfather's house are many rooms;

there he prepared a place for me.)


rooted, damp, distant

cement womb in the ground

passages and skeletal rooms

a firm foundation

Do you remember . . . ?


wooden, narrow

watch your head

musty, old

leading to the hearth

. . . to the kitchen.


bright, sunny

windows, doors

long table, many chairs

white bread, lightly toasted, buttered, stacked

passed around.

laughter, jam, cinnamon

topped pie crust cookies.

baker apples pealed quickly --

each crunchy spiral, a tart, crisp treat.

Popsicle summer days --

sticky drippings between little fingers

purple trails down short arms.

Shadows live there . . .

how could you forget?

First floor all:

seven rooms, four closets

two staircases -- front and back

three long, lazy porches.

Living room

roll top desk

t.v., Gunsmoke

one couch, three armchairs

fireplace, Marcus Welby

goosebumps on children's arms

bed clothes and bunny slippers

tangled hair wet from the communal bath.

One Adam 12.

Was it yesterday?

Through the front hall closet

a hidden door

under the stairs

a garden of coats and winter clothes

muffled and magical

the moon can't see

two children laughing

whispered secrets, fingers touching

silken folds

hide and seek

one child searching.

Front staircase

elegant banister

dark, sleek, smooth

curled like a serpent along hallowed steps

forbidden rides when no one is watching.

laughter, running footsteps, echoing laughter.

Second floor

long corridor

many bedrooms

sleepy prayers quickly murmured

giggling slowly ceasing

night time stories on textured ceilings.

Will you one day sleep?

Boarder's rooms

no children allowed

bedroom, kitchenette, bath

a small, near forgotten door --

stepping stairs to the attic.

The attic:


foreign, uncharted

wildly magnetic, earthy

treacherously banal --

could have been and someday

living side by side.

A childhood played on the first three floors . . .

a lifetime lived in the attic.

1997 clbracy-jacobs (All Rights Reserved)