Our sunny corner on Chesapeake Street
is lined with pine trees and bamboo stalks.
She is filled with cherry blossom petals in April,
And the deep orange Maple trees of November.
Like landmines, the dropping seeds from Sweetgum trees cover the ground,
Reminding us, they were born here.
Our street is small, only ten houses long,
But our corner listens intently:
to the broken French doors slamming shut,
a creaky floorboard under eight running feet, and
the blare of our fire alarms, singing from forgotten burnt toast.
This corner of our world hums with the golden sun at dusk
Reflecting down red skies from Fort Reno’s sunset.
Our porch light is left on,
Our mudroom is lined with bicycles
Our rooms filled with tall mirrors:
We place ourselves shoulder to shoulder and stare.
A broken charcoal grill stands alone in our backyard,
a stolen park bench lets us wrinkle in the sun.
Our inevitable neighbors, stray dogs, blonde colored squirrels, and bright red cardinals
peer through our bay windows: Asking, if there is space for them to stay.
Tenants cycle underneath our feet and write small names on the mailbox,
We make peace offerings. Warm cookies and bagels when they shovel the cold white snow off the stone in December.
In May, the brown wooden steps assemble our bodies under summer nights, one gust swings the heavy back gate open to a cramped ally way.
The balcony off Hannah’s room acts as a watch post.
We take our shifts but quickly leave.
The carpenter bees do our job: they have always lived inside the cream-painted wood.
We listen to rain pouring out of gutters
and wait for the sky to open up in July, an unimaginable violet-blue.
In August, the swampy heat lays on top of our brick house,
we stub our toes clearing the yard of evidence from seasons past.
Some of these things will always stay,
we cannot help the Sweetgum tree drops from multiplying.
We have grown old enough to live here alone,
but young enough to share the big room above the kitchen.
We park our cars illegally,
folding tickets as collected souvenirs, notes from the neighborhood.
At 7 pm on especially warm days, bees fly into the living room from Chesapeake hives,
And we tie curtains back like pulling hair from a face with purple ribbons.
We wonder if haunted strangers squat in the halls of our home,
wondering who has joined us.
Our corner of Chesapeake Street has strong yellow walls
They sit in on tempered fights,
and not much later,
softer confessions of love.
She closes her eyes with us at midnight,
sleeping with us one final night.
Together, we say, we hope the strangers who click on their own lamps and hang up family photos, may love her the way we do.
A big willow oak tree is visible from all windows of our small house.
Standing proudly before us,
watching us carry cardboard boxes and folding chairs from the kitchen table.
Looking down at us, she laughs with the wind.
Her seeds will stay another year.
Poem by Piper Finan
Piper Finan is graduating from American University with a BA in sociology, and a minor in literature. With three years of experience at the American University Library, she has strengthened her skills as a literary citizen. A passion for writing has afforded her the curiosity to be a part of the publishing industry as both a reader and writer, mainly non-fiction essay writing.