Where First Memories Were Formed
by Carolyn Chilton Casas

On sleepless nights,
I fly to our family farm,
half a century gone by in time,
where first memories were formed.
I lift up the gossamer thread,
gently reeling those days back to me.

It is morning; light streams
through the window in the second story
bedroom. I am alone and reach out my hand
between crib slats to the rays before calling out.

I am three, four, five, playing in gigantic
lilacs, creating make-believe rooms
within, for a home of my own,
our cow dog Nicky at my side.

I collect eggs from the hen house,
play with the cats who live in the barn,
trail after my father as he stacks hay,
milks the cows and takes them to pasture.

My parents and I walk the path
through the woods to the lake,
past my mother’s garden, where the corn
grows tall and I help her pick carrots and beans.

I am six, seven, eight. The wooden porch door
slams thwack as I run through to the kitchen;
mother bakes bread or pies,
on harvest days cooks for a crew,
or she sits at the table setting wet hair in curlers.

I hunt four-leaf clovers and watch as
grasshoppers bound from blade to blade
in front of the old ice house. The dark,
treasure-filled attic calls to me, off limits,
but I long to see the history hidden there.

My father and I are alone in an old rowboat;
I trail my hand through the water
as we glide by lily pads and cattails,
scenes I long to return to.

Burned down three decades past,
this farmhouse, the first place
to make its mark on me,
exists only in sleeping and waking dreams.


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