My grandparents' cottage
on Christleton Avenue, 1950
The house that made me
had an elephant
in the living room
we were not allowed to talk about.
Nights started out a party,
excited voices, as Dad went to the "Cash N Carry"
and brought home the amber liquid
that tasted so bitter
when I dipped a curious finger in.
But soon, screams and bumps and crashes,
desperate physical fighting,
me quaking in bed,
afraid one of them would be killed
and I'd be left with the wrong one
in the morning.
That is the house that built me.
But it was another house
- the little house in the photograph -
so serene you could hear
the ticking of the metal clock
on the kitchen windowsill -
that saved me.
My grandparents, late 1940's
for Mama Zen's prompt at Real Toads: the house that built you