That Old House

Malbec and manchego
aromas took me,
playing with my cousins in
that old house

the foyer draped
in royal green paisley.
green foam ball Tommy once threw,
greeted us in that haunted closet.
metal chain for the light,
smokey fedora.
I saw to the porch through fogged window.

I tackled my brother
on the canyon carpet.
dust spooled in our noses,
asthma, nostalgia
weaving into our sinuses
I smelled the wine.

dank smell of history, swamp darkness
in that thanksgiving living room
curled in hot sleeping bags
we were blobs of nylon when the morning came.
we talked until we woke our parents.

I held you in the doorway,
in the evening light where
we stuck out our teeth.
you spiked your hair that year before you grew it long.
my teeth were missing
I love you, you can see it pressed in Kodak.
you can smell it in the evening on 31 forest.

we left Grandma
in that old house
laughing in the background of every dream.
She taught us to keep kit-kats in the freezer.
we all sat on the wooden porch swing
Grandma sang to us:
She told us that it was the best time.

we went one september
to empty that old house.
the chill and the casket.
our uncle threw himself on the dusty oak.
our mother’s cousin
read empty words
from an empty book
in the empty home.

we laughed at the pink walls.
your sister smoked a cigarette.
a puppy that ran around our feet in the backyard
chestnuts dented car hoods in the cool wind.

We covered Grandma in a concrete cross
and memories of a fluorescent nursing home.
replaced with a mute stone
we thanked everyone for coming and headed home.

I haven’t been back since.
I haven’t tasted a raspberry since that final summer day.
I haven’t smelled dust since we left.
I haven’t felt the cool breeze.
I haven’t said her name.

but I remember that old house
my Grandma’s laugh
in a glass of wine.

_ Kevin Kaminski 2012