there is a house on 8th street

with low ceilings and kitchen cabinets painted lavender

and crayon on the walls from when you first set your mind to it


this is the house you grew up in,

woke up shaking every night, tears running down your face

and you could not remember why

then you’d wake again, later,

to pale sunlight drifting through the blinds

making your eyelids flutter as they shifted toward your mother


this is the house where you learned that you could use a screwdriver

to jimmy open the cabinet where your mother kept your halloween candy,

you learned that the red ones make your mouth hurt,

that your mother always knew what you’d done

even when you washed the sticky off your hands afterward


this is the house where you learned that cars don’t stop

for orange tabby cats laying in the street

(they’ll hit the brakes, tires screeching as they swerve,

they’ll leave black marks on the street just outside your front door

but they won’t stop)


this is the house where you learned that you have to work to let go of hate,

that you have to pry sadness out of your own clenched hands,

that you have to wash away the dirt and grime so that it will not consume you.

This poem is about: 
My family
Poetry Terms Demonstrated: 


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