A Tale of Home | Kathryn Kysar
My children think
home is their toys:
torn curtains for blankets,
dramatic, sweeping capes;
the disrobed doll
in the kitchen basket;
the plastic play food—
tomatoes, oranges, and pears;
wooden bowls stolen
from the cupboard.
Their home is enchanted:
clean sheets, pacifiers, and
sparkly pink tights appear magically.
The children are never thrown out.
The parents, talented servants,
wait upon them in this fairy-tale cottage.
The alchemy of time
is measured by our arrival home.
They rush in the door to act out
the stories they heard, the books they read.
We are in a scary forest
without our mom or dad
and no one can save us and we die.
They imagine Hansel and Gretel,
the deaths and departures of parents,
being lost in the forest or woods, alone.
I fold the mound of laundry a few feet away.
Home is not where the toys are.
Home is where we can imagine
the awful, the horrible, the witch,
surrounded by the safety of love and walls,
comfort and warmth, clean towels and milk.
Home is the place where we are not alone.