Sounds of Home

I know sounds that no one else knows.
The car turning into the driveway.
Who is coming up the front stairs by the sound of their steps.
The side door opening on a cold day over the sounds of NPR echoing off the kitchen’s linoleum floors.

There are also sounds that I don’t know:
the lamp clicking off from hallways,
the radio turned down low under the covers
boys whispering and laughing to themselves after bedtime.


I’m thinking about the unique sounds that are part of my childhood and that are uniquely locked away in my memory. I’m trying to connect these memories with the feelings they invoke – maybe comfort, maybe fear, maybe just nostalgia.

I’m also thinking that, likewise, my parents know sounds unique to there experience of that time and place. And that while I listened intently for warnings or indications, they experienced something else and – in cases – the opposite. My listening to the sound of footsteps on the stairs was perhaps matched with their listening for the sound of the lamp to click off or the radio to be silenced.

I’m thinking about these listenings with a melachony sadness – that these sounds will never be experienced again – the place has changed and the actors have changed. I’m also thinking about them wondering what it will be like to hear them from the other side of things.

Perhaps when I head home my parents will wait for the light to click off in the new “guest room” when I’m up with a crying baby of my own.

Turning the corner in memory

This is a lingering suspicion that memory is recollection;
but memory is more.
Remembering is an active, construction project.

or so say the psychologists and biologists

Yet I am inclined to believe them.
Because, for me,
memory is soft and malleable,
although there are a few
very rough corners.

These corners continue to stick out, even though
I try to mold and push the other memories around them
to soften their edges
and hide their marks.

They are painful corners of doubt and despair.