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.