The House is Sad Two Prose Poems by Hermine Robinson
The House is Sad
It shudders and sighs, exhausted by the wind that blows out of the west. The front door creaks with each load that goes out to the moving truck and empty rooms cry with the stark bleakness of their loss. This place will no longer be the anchor that brings our family together and binds us with gentle tethers of memory. Everything has been collected and stowed away into boxes and bags and trunks. With each room emptied, the dings and dents of life etched in its walls are laid bare, no longer hidden behind the bandages of family photos and furniture. The crime of horseplay is exposed when the dimple of someone’s knee, hastily covered up by moving the couch, is discovered in the wall of the family room. We all point at each other, “It was your fault.” Everywhere, scuffed doors and floors proclaim a family raised, a job well done. Memory sits for a while on the porch, and swings gently on the seat that hangs perilously on rusted chains, no longer able to support the weight of young lovers who cuddle together and dream of tomorrow. Time and circumstance dictate that we move on and fit our lives into new boxes—lovely boxes without drafts or sagging floors—where every door is square and proud in its frame and the roof stands impervious to snow or rain. We comfort ourselves with the notion that our new homes, scattered like seeds, will grow their own memories in a bounty of multiplicity. Walls, floors and ceilings echo the footfalls of our family making one last round to check that nothing was missed. The house knows what it will miss. No more joyful noise as Momma sings “Happy Birthday” out of tune. No more squeals of delight on Christmas morning. It clings to ghosts and memories. We say our last goodbyes and the house answers with groans of shrinking wood and the melancholy tune of wind whistling across the chimney. Farewell.
A big fat balloon of resentment drives Mary and Walter to opposite ends of the couch before Mary finally transitions to her rocker and Walter escapes to the kitchen table where he shakes the evening paper with unnecessary vigour while he reads the daily news, although the crackle and snap of agitated newsprint is no match for the staccato click-clack of Mary’s needles knitting up a storm, and neither Walter’s pursuit of world events nor Mary’s devotion to the endless scarf can compete with the malignant growth of silent discontent pushing them apart like an invisible wedge being pounded in by the tick-tock passage of time, thus marking yet another day in which the two of them have nothing left to say to each other—not even goodbye.
Hermine Robinson lives in Alberta, Canada where winters are long and inspiration is plentiful. She loves all things ‘short fiction’ and refuses to be the place where perfectly good stories come to die. Her work has appeared in numerous on-line and print publications, including; FreeFall Magazine, Vine Leaves Literary Journal, Every Day Fiction and The Exile Book of New Canadian Noir.