I'm a poet and writer living for the past six years in the South Jersey shore area. I moved here from North Jersey in 2009 after the 2008 death of my husband William J. (Bill) Higginson, author of The Haiku Handbook, to be closer to my daughter and family. I'm a mom, grandma, and sometimes poet-teacher for the NJSCA. My work has appeared in many journals, and in twenty-some books (including chapbooks). I read at the Dodge Festival in 2010, and was in residence at VCCA in January of 2011. Please visit my website: www.2hweb.net/penhart — and my blog: http://penhart.wordpress.com
The first one I constructed grew from the
white cardboard pieces hiding inside my
father’s starched shirts. I slipped these out,
cut them down for walls, bent and taped
them together to make the whole house,
then put it on the floor of my room.
There were little cardboard tables and chairs,
tiny beds with cotton-ball pillows and napkin
blankets. Then came the paper-doll family who
would live there—mother, father, children,
and small brown dog—all these brought to
life from my Crayola box of colors.
Lying on my stomach and hanging off the side
of my bed, I hovered over my creation,
maneuvering little people from one room
to another, bringing them dawn and dusk,
breakfast and dinner. Laughter and tears
rounded the corners of their given days.
Decades later, my granddaughter played dolls
in the carefully constructed house her grandfather
made her, its shingled roof and painted rooms
a showplace, the tiny beds so real I wanted to
shrink and lie down in one. Now it gathers dust
in a corner of my daughter’s guest room.
Count up all the houses—all we’ve dreamed
or lived in. Like children at play we make them,
believe in them, people them with family and friends.
And they remember us—windows open, doors
unlocked and swinging in the wind. They call us
to stop by, and sometimes—sometimes we do.
©2015 Penny Harter