Houses and Homes

She stood five feet tall with a brunette roof,
Her foundation was cracked, and there were bruises under her windows,
The paint on her face was heavy, and her clothes like billboards
Back yard all overgrown, and there were holes in her fence,
She stood five feet tall with a brunette roof,

She was built in a neighborhood on the wrong side of the tracks,
To a mom and dad that defaulted on their loan,
And left their baby girl all alone,
This tiny home was passed back and forth to different houses,
Through a system, more like a monster, named foster care,
That’s where she learned to lock her doors,
So she locked her doors, and watched from inside as her garden wilted.

Her hallways were lined with pain that hung on the walls like portraits,
She kept her feelings locked the basement, and her hope buried in the yard,
She started boarding up her windows when her innocence was stolen,
And when that man touched her, he left a ghost to roam her hallways,
Haunting her.
Her hallways lined with pain, and patrolled by ghosts,
Like an abandoned home.

That little house looked at him and said, I keep making these cuts on my arms,
When they get done bleeding, their scars match the pattern of my wallpaper.
I keep letting these guys in, And even though they leave in the morning,
At least I had a reason to set the table,
I’m just tired of eating alone.

I’m so tired of eating alone.

She said, Sometimes I put a fire on,
I kindle it with opioids and Jim Beam, and when the smoke fills my halls,
I can’t see anything,
I can’t feel anything.
And it feels great.

She told him, no one would want me,
I don’t have much underneath this roof but pain,
A cracked foundation,
And ghosts.
I don’t think you want to stay here,
I don’t have much to offer.

She looked up through her bruised windows and said,
But I heard about your son,
that he comes for people like me,
I have heard he is kind to the broken
I heard he has scars too, a couple in his hands, one on his side,
I think maybe, I’d like to show him mine,
People say that he isn’t real, that you’re not real,
But I don’t think I believe them,
Because sometimes, I can see him, planting me flowers in my garden,
And real late at night,
I can hear him throwing pebbles at my window,
My appearance hasn’t turned him away yet,
And he doesn’t mind driving all the way to this side of town,
And I think he can help me, I think he wants to,
We could take down those portraits,
He could scare off that ghost,
He could help me with the repairs,
And we could start making this house into a home again.

I want to let him in, I want to set my table for him,
And talk with him, and put a fire on.
I don’t think he would leave me, I don’t think I’d have to eat alone.
It sounds funny, but I feel like I was built for him to occupy,
Sometimes I daydream of us dancing in the living room,
Reading in the study, laughing in the kitchen,
And falling asleep to him watching over me.

She looked at him and said,
So, I am going to unlock the door now,
Please come in,
And forgive the mess, it’s all I have to offer.

-T.L. Schaefer

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