The Poetry Project

in an effort to save / the unsavable home

Sara Barber

one chandelier
two fireplaces
three-car garage.
rock walls, religiously
tended lawn.

my father drew
the blueprint of
a life he had always
dreamed of living
-- if only in the form
of a loaned-out mirage.

a facade of wealth
my father built himself
off “borrowed” (mostly stolen)
goods. when the bank says
foreclosure, no one says
“it is going to be okay.”

we know better. instead,
I hear the bottle clink open
and glass windows shatter. I hear
the contact of angered fist through
drywall in one ear, and the wails
of a mother who has no money
and nowhere to take her child
in another.

and here I am, in the closet of a bedroom
that will only be mine for so much longer,
sitting atop the bright red carpet I chose
for myself, screaming into pillows so
my parents can’t hear. when they look,
I play make-believe for a life I hope
to someday live.

a new family moved in almost
immediately after we were evicted.
they scored a $550,000 house for
$50,000, and I am lost in the economy
of loss. in the nightmares of houselessness
and food insecurity and never being guaranteed
the basic needs to live, I yearn to burn
every memory left in the emptiness.

but my therapist says healing isn’t about
demolishing the house: it’s about building
a stronger foundation for the rooms
that need renovating.

so now, I tuck myself into bed with my own lullaby:
I am safe. I am okay.
I have the means
inside me
to be happy.

Work from Architecture of the Interior: how to save the house with Angel Dominguez