Reader Submission: Dear Childhood Home

[Image by Maddy Hart.
Description: A black and white image of a door left ajar. The window on the door is smashed and the wood looks weathered. Nothing can be seen inside the house, as it is all in shadow. All we can see is light seeping through a small window at the other end of the room.]

Reader submission from Margaux Bauerlein.

Dear Childhood Home

The one off the side of the highway
with the birds of paradise on the lawn
And the salmon coloured kitchen tiles I cracked
my tooth upon.
To the house with arched ceilings,
and wooden planks for beams,
where my mother kissed me goodnight and
where father said, “sweet dreams.”
To the earth where I planted a garden of
rosemary and where the wind
brought all the voices spirits could carry,
because I heard them whispering late in the night
that they could no longer live except to fight.
She said she could no longer live in a house
where the man she married was a mouse.
Now no longer able to fare
the sight of the woman with blonde hair,
the mouse’s voice grew to a shout,
“This is my house Claire. You can get out.”
To the house with a wooden floor and one less bed,
and the flowers outside--recently dead,
I am writing you now to say,
I don’t think you’ll always be this way.
For I could have never possibly forgotten
the warmth and the light
that you once brought in.

“Dear Childhood Home” is about my childhood home. It’s a universal
phenomenon that everyone remembers their childhood home in an idyllic fashion and I wanted to capture that, but also bring in the reality that we are blissfully unaware of as children. I wanted to
capture the rustic, whimsical vibe of my first house by focusing on specific details that I remember vividly. My parents separated when I was really small and I have memories of them screaming at each other which dampens the fond memories that I have of my first home. My relationship with my parents fell apart after my dad’s addiction worsened and my mom passed away. The house falling apart with dead flowers outside represents that broken relationship but I hope that the house and I will be healed one day.