Corner Lot

The house where turns are made,
a brick two-story duplex. We lived upstairs.
In the front yard, an oak with one low hanging branch
where I’d swing by my arms for hours,
my feet brushing the ground.
The yard a steep hill, its face scarred by steps.
At the top ivy for spiders, a single boxy hedge.
The small foyer was used by no one but me.
I unlatched the double windows,
became Juliette on the balcony.
An interior flight led to our wooden front door
marked with a brass 2, otherwise unadorned.
We used the front door only once in our time.
My mother’s hand faltered as she turned the key.
A room full of strangers shouted Surprise!
That night my father’s mistress gave me a gift,
a small wooden doll with deep scarlet lips.
For everyday use there was a side door.
Beside it a garden plot marked the ground.
Three neat rows of carrots planted with care,
assuring a harvest, if we stuck around.

Ellen Birkett Morris is the author of Surrender (Finishing Line Press). Her poetry is forthcoming in Thin Air Magazine, and has appeared in The Clackamas Literary ReviewJuked, The Bark, Alimentum, Qarrtsulini, Gastronomica and Inscape.
*Photo courtesy of origamidon.
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