Wednesday, January 11, 2012

After the Foreclosure

I wonder about them.
The family that used to live here.

I wonder where they are now.

Throughout the morning, I have been hiking
through woods
and have come upon this house,
now abandoned.

It is noon when I enter. The weak sun high above.

As I walk through the house
I wonder if the marriage
survived the breakup of the home.
Foreclosure stories
seem to end with the leaving,
but here in what surely must have been a home,
I wonder about what it is they have gone on to
and what they have left behind.

With each step, I feel the awful stresses,
the creaking floorboards
and think of all
that must have kept them
from their beds at night
as they attempted to figure out a way
to stay ahead
To stay even.
To not lose it all.

I wonder about the children.
Are they resettled?
Do they recall this home by the lake?
The staircase they surely bumped down?
The afternoons reading
books beneath the eaves?
Do they wonder about what was left behind?
Do they now imagine someone else riding their bikes?
Their scooters?
Were they too young to even catalog such belongings?

Mostly though, I wonder
about the woman
who used to live here.
The mother.
The wife.
Does she recall the rooms
where she and her husband
made love?
The clawfoot tub?  
The rooms
where she cared for her children?
The nights she ran the steam
to calm a child's whooping cough?
The doors that were slammed
and opened.

All the living squeezed into boxes and packed away.

Is she somewhere else
perhaps even now
recalling the way the light
fell through the kitchen window?
It's a communion of sorts.
This documenting.
This lifting of the camera
again and again, hearing
how the the whine of the shutter
what was settled.


Aerial View of hike from SP to CP

Abandoned house.


  1. Such a powerful piece, Mary Ann. I am so inspired!

  2. @Karen, thank you. It was a very moving experience.

  3. Lovely, Mary. I have had the house to my left and the house behind mine left by former friends who have simply vanished. The kinds of questions you raise here have a heavy poignance for me.

  4. @Roderick, these are difficult times. I can't help but wonder how people who make these decisions--to evict, foreclose live with those decisions.