House of My Youthby Anne Myles
Because the living room was a glassed-in porch I wanted vision.
Because the windowpanes were wavy I learned how to see through tears.
Because the plank floor creaked with every step I wanted to know where I was going.
The ceilings were dark and low so it felt right to burrow.
A line of lamps hung down the middle so I wanted to find illumination again and again.
Because my aunt had sewed the curtains I knew craft, and because she chose wild fuchsia flowers I believed in imagination.
Because my bed swayed in its old wooden frame I sensed there was a journey.
Bats chittered between the thin walls beside my head so I could tell the invisible world was never far.
Because the house was full of rooms I dreamed there was a secret room I had yet to discover.
Because the clapboard was white I wanted distance and memory and impossible longing.
Because the trim was red I believed that longing was the same as passion.
At times the wind would fling itself fiercely up from the lake so I felt called to endure.
Because the trees rustled through the long summer night I wanted to say what it was like.
But my parents filled the house with their voices so I could not hear my own.
Until the house and the lake and the voices were gone, and only the wanting left.
* * * * *
Anne Myles’s work has appeared in the North American Review, Split Rock Review, Whale Road Review, Lavender Review, Ekphrastic Review, and other journals. She is Professor Emeritus of English at the University of Northern Iowa and received her MFA from the Vermont College of Fine Arts. She is a Pushcart nominee and a recent transplant to Greensboro, NC.