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Houses on a steep street in Rhode Island
My earliest memory is moving home,

a new-laid house on the edge of town.

We huddled in anonymous rooms,

drank tea from thermoses, faced

rain with plastic macs. Our goods

slung on careless lorries for the road.


Next move, we took a southward road

in snow. We found a neglected home,

ramshackle garage full of jumbled goods.

We walked an unfamiliar route to town,

found it over long. My brothers faced

new beginnings in furnished rooms.


Our marital home was a box of rooms

with a strip of green to ward off the road,

as if a child with building bricks had faced

the task of making a satisfactory home.

Fields of houses lined the route to town:

just a place to buy essential goods.


We filled our house with haphazard goods,

constructed piles of paper in every room.

We walked downland paths around the town,

discovered quiet villages along the roads.

At length the box became familiar home,

with a row of roses along the road we faced.


One baking June, we proudly faced

the world with our baby son. Extra goods

from teddy bears to nappies filled our home.

We spread a towel on the carpet in our room,

encouraged him to crawl. The local roads

saw me push a toddler's buggy to the town.


Now he's a worker in a distant town.

We're wondering if it's best to face

old age together on our familiar road;

or dispose of our long-hoarded goods,

bid farewell to our much lived-in rooms

and find another corner to call home.


It's not the house that makes the home, nor the town.

It's not the rooms I love. I could face the future

anywhere if people went with me along the road.
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