Come on in to South Street

There’s a world in which I lived. 

Want to come inside? 

Gather up your coat and drop it on the floor, shed your shoes and socks while you’re at it. 

Tiptoe into the foyer and look up — notice the dull scape from many Christmases ago when we got a tree a touch too big for the room.

You might trip over the shoe pile of twelve kids (that you just added yours upon) and somersault into the kitchen where dinner simmers, a vegetable-heavy meal in a familiar crusted black pot, chicken baking pleasantly in the oven.

Go ahead, slink over to the tables which are finely sanded and stained pieces of oak laying upon the legs of Singer iron sewing machines that my father crafted the day our dining room was overtaken by a pool table. 

Slouch your way onto the couch where many little butts sat against the cushions watching The Sword in the Stone and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Mary Poppins and Little House on the Prairie, The Apple Dumpling Gang and It’s a Wonderful Life. 

Let’s eat fig newtons that are frozen alongside the Minute Maid lemonade and crunch the snap of the peas from the garden that we sat on overturned milk crates to pick in the summer’s heat. 

Listen in as my parents rolled their fingers over rosary beads and a fellow Mister Catholic strummed “Michael Rowed the Boat Ashore” and our stomach ached for the brownies that his wife surely made for when the last amen is uttered. 

Settle yourself down in front of the wood stove my father filled with logs that he split that Fall and inhale steeping apple cinnamon and exhale as the checkers board on your belly lowers as we compete red and black.

Take refuge in my teenage bedroom and notice the lock that kept the noise out and kept the poetry in on an old Mac desktop with words clipped together aching, hoping, wandering the page a bit lost, yet needed. 

Slip down the hall and peek into my childhood bedroom, the one with 2 bunkbeds and a child’s bed for the youngest, and laugh with me as I play tug-of-war with a queen-sized sheet with my sister on the opposite top bunk. 

Move with me as I dance to “Shake That Ass” and celebrate the rhythm of my body as my mother hurries into the room to slam the boom box off and tell me that “This is shit!” and know that my mother rarely swears, only to make a necessary point. 

Spin around and around and around again as we get dizzy in the side yard and race along the grass for ‘Red Rover’ and oblige each other with ‘Mother May I’ and pull the wandering tick or two from our legs as we roll in the back fields high grass.

Tie up your running shoes and stride alongside the younger South Street me as I dream of new beginnings in cities unknown and adventures yet to be seen.

There’s a world in which I lived. 

Thanks for coming inside. 

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