A little boat with iron bushmen in it on a curio shelf, saying “That man is a bigot.”
A little clay pot made into a mouth with eyes, saying “Watch out, he is mean.”
Many old-style keys framed on black velvet and under glass, saying “So many lies,
such hurt, such trauma, such damage. We all KNOW what went on here.”
The mirror in the hall, saying “Why does she stay with him? It is killing her.”
The lavender wreath on the back of the front door, saying “There’s nothing wrong here.”
The kitchen table, saying “He yelled at his daughter at this table, she was the family scapegoat.”
The garbage disposal, saying “This whole picture, of a “family”, it is a pack of lies.”
The kitchen window, it liked to create rumors, tell untruths about me that would get me in trouble.
The kitchen window over the sink, saying “There is nothing wrong here. Everything is fine.”
The door to the front garage, saying “You can go through anytime. Use me. Use me some more.”
The back garage, saying “I was a place that enabled “Isolate, corner, and attack.”
“I watched you refinish that piano for years. Lots of work. Then he discarded it as he had already mentally discarded you. You were earning piano lessons. What a deceptive, cruel, and cold-hearted way to squander and misuse such a staggering amount of your teen years.”
“I almost died you know. When the roof leaked. I was on the way out.
Then they finally fixed the roof, but didn’t fix the rest.
I was left in a state of moldy disrepair, with a good roof. Wish they had cared more.”
The wall between my room and my parents’ room, screaming “This is NOT a safe house.”
My bedroom floor, saying “There are snakes underneath me, beware.”
My bed, saying “Tuck the sheets and blankets in the sides before you go to bed, and you’ll be safe.”
My closet, saying “Keep me closed, you can be safe in here.”
My window without a screen, saying “You can just open the latch, open the window, and get away.”
But like a caged bird, I could not leave. I was a child, I needed these people, I could not leave. Not yet.
The periodic table now on my bedroom wall, saying “He has no heart.”
The stationery and address book in the china cabinet drawer, saying
“She cannot write letters because she cannot focus with all the gaslighting coming at her.
She is taking care of him, and not able to take care of her. He keeps her scattered and unfocused.”
The lipstick in the bathroom, saying “Do you know he yelled at her, REALLY yelled at her, for putting lipstick on? I sit here to this day, never used again.”
The range and oven, saying “Food was cooked with terror here. No love in this food. Just disconnect.”
The den, Jeff’s room for a while, screaming “No boundaries for this boy. He is golden.”
The room in the front garage that my older brother built later, yelling…
“Do not come in here, he has no conscience, and still no boundaries. Keep yourself safe.”
Mom and dad’s room, saying “I’m unavailable. Do not enter. Do not ask for support. I have none to give.”
My room, saying “It looks nice, you painted me a nice light turquoise blue and nice gloss white for the cabinetry, impeccable job, but this room is risky, dangerous, hazardous. Not safe.”
“These people are not worthy of trust, not reliable, not truthful. Not to be believed.
Deceitful, treacherous, unscrupulous.
I wish you understood this earlier. I wish life had been different for you.
You needed them to be parents, love you unconditionally, be supportive,
care for you, protect you, care about you.
You are finding your way.”
My room, it cries. It knows of many beatings my younger brother endured
in the middle of the night for many years… It wishes things hadn’t been so.
It cries for me, the witness, who learned to dissociate so early in life, and so completely.
My room, it holds the secrets of my own childhood, that I still have blocked out, for now…
The hardwood floors, they weep, and drip titanic amounts of tears below the house,
weep for the children raised there… for the damage done…
The windows, they scream and howl… they want to leave, want it to be over now.
The curtains, weathered, tattered, lethargic and listless, the carpet lifeless and dull.
The bathroom telling everyone how my older brother used to grope me.
My parents’ room silent and dark, with the door closed as always, unavailable still. Tight lipped and angry.
The den turned “small bedroom” housed my older brother until he built a room in the garage,
then housed my younger brother, although I doubt the beatings stopped,
Bedroom window screens now yelling at passersby,…saying “Do you know what went on here?
Sit awhile and I’ll tell you… Spill the beans, the family secrets…”
The roof, it wails and roars, no longer able to contain its sadness, weariness, and fatigue.
The electric box banging its door, saying “Come over here… I’ll shock you…”
The relatively new paint on the outside seems a disguise. A false house. Not a home.
A torture chamber. A concentration camp. A hell-house. Not a home.
And my beloved climbing tree… More like a parent than my folks.
Like an elder raising me.
My tree provided solace, safe-harbor, consistency…
It didn’t yell, or lie, or hurt…
It held me, comforted me, supported me. Grounded and centered me.
A wise soul to reassure, console, and protect me,
with unconditional acceptance.
And to keep me, until I managed to escape.