The Joyhood of Change

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Crumbled concrete lots
became the playgrounds
building tall towers
of sticks and rocks
my joyhood would be
as I toppled these cities
as uninhabited as the empty, sprawling suburbs
as glee, maybe mania, overtook my spirits
as if imitating the crains’ clearing was
as if reclaiming something
as memories too often demolished
as those stories were replaced with drywall
as they became of my childhood
As if all too often I felt
as if these maps were forgotten, maybe just misplaced,
as mother would ask,
as if clueless, “what was once there but a week ago?”
As quickly as these cities are built is
as sudden that our familiarity is lost
as if the change came over night
as if we slept through it

as if it were just dreaming, to awake
as if we were living in a different place.
As if this place is not our home, anymore.

Unlike an old dead tree
who’s stump continues to spring and sprout
those hall and rooms
which housed both of our
bodies and souls
recede and rot
as fast as new buildings are brought

But when grandma left us, it was
as if she still lived there,
as if the dust still held her presence
as if she hanged around, rather than haunted

But the house felt different, and I could not remember
as if I forgot her voice
as if those years were behind me
as if the photos on the mantel only told a story
as irrelevant as a book of the shelf
What used to be here, I wondered
Perhaps I just lost sight of it
or misplaced it,
And maybe its scattered somewhere,
carried by wind, or maybe the water
or maybe the snow hid it,
burying just another family secret
under the snow, in the dark mud,
but beautiful flowers continue to grow here,
despite all the development
amidst all the weeds and grass
yes, there are the new houses
but there are also all the stories
so loud they crumble the concrete foundations
and turn it all back into playgrounds
as if all the old maps were right all along
as they lead me back home.

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