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Karen Hammond

Moving On


I’ve read that when we move, change houses,
It takes time for the soul to catch up.
Mine is wandering
Between one house and the next,
Bruised valise, crates of spine-sprung books in tow,
Looking for the perfect woman
It won’t find in me.

Waiting, I unpack lives sealed with sticky tape,
Try not to think of hyacinth-papered bedrooms
Where I rocked children,
Tree house Gregory built at six,
Pet cemetery my daughter planted
With moon-faced pansies.

Moving means leaving lives nurtured so long
I can’t recall being without them.
I hate most that moving means
Saying goodbye to their youth and mine.

Clatter of tools,
Pounding of nails in wood,
Signals that my husband
Has arrived, soul intact,
Perhaps so trained to stay
It never lagged behind.

Called downstairs
I do what’s expected,
Admire closet space and handmade tiles,
Make weighty decisions
About tables and beds until,
House quiet at last,
I strain to hear the laughter of children.

Hear instead my soul’s sighing breath
In the twilight, heading home.

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