Our Apartment

Sometimes I try to remember the apartment I used to live in.

It was on the second floor.

I walk through it in my mind,

holding onto the layout because somehow

it seems important that I never forget.

At the top of the concrete stairs is a big door

with a metal knocker on the front

that I used to clack against the door

over and over

until Momma said I had to stop.


Inside is the living room, with the two sofas

and the squashed brown pillows

that Momma taught me how to fluff.

There is the box TV where I watched

Beauty and the Best every day for months,

wearing my pink Power Rangers costume.

And over here is the door to the patio,

where Momma helped me and Ellie make corn husk dolls.

They looked so pretty, wrapped in her arms,

with their closed eyes and their corn husk dresses.


Turn left into the dining room,

with the round wooden table.

I used to hide under that table, and my knees

would get carpet burn from crawling in and out too fast.

The cat scratched me under there once.

He didn’t like when I pet his tummy,

but it was so soft.


Turn left again into the kitchen.

It’s a narrow strip of a room

with a wallpaper that Momma hated:

a cream background with fruits on it.

In the kitchen is the pantry,

where I used to sneak in

and grab a handful of the Hershey’s kisses.

I would hide them in my pocket

and eat them all day long.

I always thought I was clever,

but I think Momma knew.


Run back to the living room and straight through.

At the end of the hallway, turn left.

Momma and Daddy’s room.

There is the Big Bed, right in the middle.

On Saturday mornings me and Evan

would climb out of our beds,

help Timothy out of his crib, and all

together crawl under the blankets with Momma and Daddy.

One time, Momma mumbled, mostly asleep,

that I couldn’t get in her bed

until the clock said five zero zero.

I remember the red flashing numbers read: 4:13.

I stood there, beside the bed, sometimes spinning in circles,

sometimes watching through the window

as the sky’s midnight blue went away.

I waited until the clock said five zero one.

I didn’t want her to think I was impatient.


Back through the hallway and into our bedroom,

the room I know best.

Against one wall is the crib.

That’s where me and Aubrey crawled under

when Daddy burned the popcorn

at my first ever sleepover.

We were in our princess dresses, but when smoke

started filling the house and Momma told us to duck beneath it,

we became firefighters.

To the left of the door are the bunk beds.

I always got the top because

I’m the oldest and Evan might fall out.

One night, I was reading about Felicity, an American Girl.

She was reunited with her lost pony, Penny, and suddenly

the words on the page were making me cry.

Daddy walked in to turn off the lights and he saw my tears.

I was embarrassed

but he did not laugh at me.

He kissed my forehead and told me it was okay.

And another day, he climbed up onto the top bunk and sat with me.

Our backs were leaned against the wall.

My arm was stretched up, and my fingers were tracing the bumpy

texture of the ceiling. I did that when I needed

something to do with my hands.

He told me about his Momma.

The grandma I had never met.

I had never seen him cry before, but now, as

he took off his glasses to wipe away tears,

I was scared,

because I thought nothing could be bad enough to make Daddy cry.


The Potter

This is the first time I’ve ever shared my poetry with anyone. It is nerve-wracking to put myself out here like this (I’ve been sitting at my computer for 30 minutes debating on whether to hit “Publish” or not), but practice is the only way for it to improve. I am looking forward to the day when posting a poem doesn’t require so much bravery.

In the pottery studio, she works, quietly

hunched over the slippery clay that smells like cold dirt

and will soon, under her gentle touch, be a

masterpiece. Patiently she works, alert


and listening to the potters’ gossip around her,

but never interjecting with a thoughtless word

that she may soon regret. She listens

at her wheel, nothing said but everything heard.


Lumpy bowls perform pirouettes as these potters’

words patter on, complaining about life.

God, how I hate doctors­. The rest all chime in instant

Agreement—all but the doctor’s patient wife.


They think she is shy, too insecure to interject, but

as she guides the clay—up, out, further up, in—

she is wise. She keeps dignified silence and holds

the half-made vase in her clay-caked hands, forming it as it spins.