My Girl's Life in My Pink Room

We really did fix White Cottage.

When I came down with pug, Dad stopped at home,

read to me and put in an indoor bathroom.

Our family moved a few steps down to the Big Brown House

from the white cottage when the big aunts died.

When we first went in he and I sat in the cistern basement.

Dad, isn't it disgusting that we have to start over again?

Slowly each of the fourteen rooms,

five porches and eight rooms in the basement

bent to fit our family of five.

Modern floors supported the mother's refined antiques.

I was crazy about pink then, as little girls are.

Pop doesn't care much about pink.

Okay, he hated pink.

But he cares about me, and so pink it was.

Even the wallpaper bloomed a little pink flowers.

I slept under a double wedding ring, part of my pants.

The carved walnut woven over my head.

Marble-topped dressers and, in the middle, a round table of the variety

heroes in the old-fashioned books I read may have taken tea.

Against a wall, a white porcelain pot and sink on a chest of drawers
with a false top and secret box.

The weekly ritual to change the table table.

I took bands from funeral bears from the pot

and twisted them into small beans filled with little baskets and figures

I shook the house too.

The treasure abounded.

Scrap of lace. A bulls Birds eggs. Butterfly wings.

Small vases filled with lilies in the valley.

Altar I tended to as dedicated officials.

Arranges small worlds that I controlled.

The door was closed when I was working, forehead fixed in hard concentration.

Humming hymns of my girl's life in a pink room.

(excerpt from "My Girls Life in a Pink Room" from "Sightlines: A Poet's Diary" copyright 2006)