Roller Skating in the House (poem)

Roller Skating in the House

The lumbering Iowa farmhouse had a back room
with downhill linoleum to roller skate on,
a cob-burning stove, where my mother
sewed up baby pigs, stepped on by mother sows.
A cubbyhole under the stairs,
a musty mousy smell,
where Dad kept his watch and billfold
and unfiltered Camels.
A front room, closed off in winter,
a locked room upstairs where Mom
kept her hope chest of high school mementos,
her aqua formal gown, Dad’s Air Corps uniform.
A big front porch, where we watched,
wrapped in stove-warmed blankets, for Sputnik,
before Dad tore down my castle to build
my mother a small green mouse-free house.


  1. I love the details in this poem! And billfold! That is a word from my youth. I haven’t heard anybody in California or Arizona use that word. The image of the pigs, though. How horrifying!

  2. My mother Luella, in her memoir, wrote about moving into a farmhouse in late 1918, Buffalo Center, Iowa, she was nine years old. She wrote that she and her sister Leone roller skated in the attic. I have the Christmas ornament she found there, a Santa in a blue suit.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.