The House at Dogwood Lane

by Steven Zemelman

Writing Group: Illinois Writing Project – Leadership Team


Like moving to another country,
Crisp ranch-house outlines,
Wide, empty lawns,
Road crossing a tiny creek
Before climbing up
Out of the small subdivision.
At the school, being the bright Jewish kid
Meant having few friends.
We perched on our island.
My father and I finished the basement,
Varnished solid knotty pine panels,
Laid vinyl tiles.
I learned about firring strips
And how to staple on the sound-proof
Ceiling squares.
By the creek, giant willows,
Older than any of us,
Shimmered summer evenings with fireflies.
This prize for his life's struggle,
Given him for just one year.
He rode his mower round and round its boundaries.