Down in the basement folding the laundry, towels first to trim the pile, I realize that I have lived in this house now precisely as long as I lived On Gregory Avenue, seventeen years! and that warm little house leaps Into my memory: the ping-pong table where dad laid out the Catholic Journalist, and the hammering of his typewriter in his ostensible study; The bright yellow kitchen even the radio painted yellow who did that?; The gargantuan fan upstairs; the raft of small boys; the alpine staircase; The rocks and stones in the yard stolen from national parks everywhere; The maple tree that rocketed up next to the garage and is tipping it over; The sweetgums that provided so many thousands of tiny prickly bullets; The massive pipe by the furnace that has brained many an unsuspecting Soul, many of them more than once; the workbench, with another radio, And the lean white pantry for hurricane supplies; a grandmother's room Where once there was a grandmother, stern and sweet and then returned To the Mercy. The days after grandma died, our mom must have paused Down in the basement, standing by the dryer, holding her mom's towels Against her face, hauling in the fading elegant holy redolence before she Dries her eyes and plunges into the alps of kids' stuff. Maybe our house Is always our house even after we leave and someone else is memorizing The splay of the kitchen so you can get a sandwich at two in the morning Without waking up the baby. Maybe if your home is always in your head You can always live there. Maybe that is one of the ways we live forever.
Brian Doyle is editor of Portland magazine at the University of Portland. He is the author of Leaping: Revelations and Epiphanies, A Shimmer of Something: Lean Stories of Spiritual Substance, and, most recently, Martin Marten, a novel.