Housepoem

by Mariah Bosch


 
I give up memories in exchange for others:  I ask my parents what they want to remember ––  maybe a particular day or what color our old couch was  (the day we brought home snow / brown with orange poppies)  and I give them what I know for what they have.    I want to know what color my first bedroom was,  how my sister and I looked when we were playing  in the backyard, what my grandfather’s voice sounded like  inside the expanse of the kitchen, and if I ever swung from the weeping willow vines ––  I only remember them snapping in my hand, no matter how I twisted them together.    I can’t remember the first bedroom I shared with my sister  but I remember the house on Huntington Boulevard  with the red door –– it looked like a dollhouse,  like the one we opened together on Christmas.  Arranging the small velvet couch, the tall and empty wardrobe,    the spiral staircase, I thought it must be identical,  I wanted it to be so I could say I saw it.  This unoccupied dream house gave my sister and I  what we did not see or have on Belmont,  what we fantasized we’d put in the house with the red door.    In my own apartment, I recreate my mother’s Saturday mornings:  music playing in the living room, broom in hand,  and a feeling of sole responsibility for a house I share.  I learned from watching her when I wasn’t trying to pretend  I was still asleep when I heard Ramon Ayala or Vicente Fernandez    cascading into my room. Either she could leave the Pine-sol-scented  kitchen to gain extra hands or continue, alone ––  I’m sure she knew my pretending, as I know my roommate’s now,  and we both know of scrubbing and sweeping the quiet.  The dust and Saturdays settle back onto the surface.    Across the street from the church I visit: a house on a platform and wheels.  I wish it was this house I hardly remember, prepared  and preserved, ready for me to tow around the city ––  my own museum, staged just as we had it.  I only remember my wooden dresser, initials carved into it,    the window without its view, and the exposed carpet staples  in the doorway. Maybe I’d park it in front of the other houses  that came after –– an apartment, a model home,  and the newest with olive trees out front. I would tow it behind me  if only for possibility, if only for comfort of knowing.
 
 

 

Mariah Bosch is a Chicana poet from Fresno, CA. She attends the MFA program there, where she works with Juan Felipe Herrera as a graduate fellow in his Laureate Lab Visual Wordist Studio. Her work can be found elsewhere in Peach Magazine, The Acentos Review, and Glass: A Journal of Poetry.