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CZ.com | Poems | The House of Childhood Dreams
 

The House of Childhood Dreams

The House of Childhood Dreams
Click to enlarge.

Fireflies at night
are vestiges of a lost continent,
lights beckoning across a lonely plain
or windswept moor or desolate beach;
they fly among the trees
in the rain-dark night;
over the field, bright spots
of light, as if magic lanterns
flickering on, then off, then on again.
The fireflies seem always illusive
as memory or thought,
distant as the lost experiences
of childhood, the way memory
flickers at the edge of consciousness.

I return to my childhood house
on Ontario Street,
where I roller-skated
under the horse-chestnut trees
and walked across the lane
to visit Graem;
once I sat on his back porch
and ate the center
of every slice of white bread
from one of the loaves
left by the delivery man.
Another time, I swallowed
a rusty nail
found in Graem's garage.
At lunchtime, his mother
fed us tinned tomato soup
with soda crackers.

In this neighbourhood
there were tidy gardens
with shrubs trimmed into
round, sculpted shapes;
each yard, front and back,
tended with 1950's zeal.
The house next door
belonged to Mr. and Mrs. Green
and in their yard, every rose bush
was lovingly taken care of—
now, the garden is slightly
overgrown, indistinct
from any other in the area.

Two blocks away, I look
for the miniature garden
where forty years ago
someone created tiny
houses, built a small pond
and set a toy train track
running through thin maples;
a whole village-in-miniature
walled off from the rest
of the garden with a wire fence.
Now, the trees have grown thick
trunks, stand with ferns in a clump
in the middle of the lawn
and all I can find
as testimony to this imagined
world, a vestige from the lost
continent of childhood,
is a small cement stairway
about ten inches in height,
scaled to tiny dimensions,
that once led into the village.

 

Copyright by Carolyn Zonailo: www.carolynzonailo.com, 2004

 
 
CZ.com | Poems | The House of Childhood Dreams
 
 
 
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