Page 118

Mapping the Empty Lot Catherine Young where my grandmother’s house stood is like tonguing a lost tooth. I cannot find my bearings. Only broken boulevard flagstones say there was a home here once. Gravel replaces grassy yard. I am at loss to restore the snapdragon-lined passage from hedge in front to where apple trees blossomed in back; the place along the fence where we children scavenged pears and plums from the old lady next door who yelled whenever we got near. I pace the ghost house where barrels of apple wine once convened in the basement and jam jars dribbled sweetness along wooden shelves, while upstairs at the dining room table, we gathered for Thanksgiving. I strip veneer from memory and try to measure the gap in years, all that happened in this place: the fears for sons gone to war, the path worn from mailbox to door. Their mother prayed over photos of them in uniform on the living room walls while she waited to caress their faces. The sons returned from their hidden hells emptied, their souls scattered, shattered by mortars. Time moved on without them, as the shells of their lives filled the halls. Grandmother sat in the rocking chair, swaying back and forth on her crumbling front porch floor where she still hovers. And I, on empty gravel, still search for the door. 118

2017 Freshwater Literary Journal  

Professional literary journal produced at Asnuntuck Community College