Our exit to freedom and welcomed return,
broken-hearted, the champions, the loved, and the burned.
Over its pickets long kisses, deep trances,
prayers and curses and sweet romances.
We’d run out the gate in boots or high heels,
through snow drifts, the deep woods, across football fields.
The path led home to whence we came,
in pride or in shame, the same pebbled lane.
Mom in her garden with roses and saints.
Dad with his ladder and buckets of paint.
We’d lie in the sun, sister-talk sharing all;
star-spangled barbeques, colored leaves in the fall.
The apple blossom tree pink and frilly,
winter haven for rabbits, where the lights glowed so pretty.
Bird houses, lilacs, wind chimes tinkling in the breeze,
gave solace and hope to the gardener on her knees.
I’d float in the pool all alone in the dark,
watching the stars in that shadowy park.
Warm light from the windows of the place I called home,
Never knowing back then how far I would roam.
Sneaking in late, a drunken stumble;
secret laughter, backward glances, his engine rumble.
Three brides left veiled in white-laced frocks,
stepped over its threshold to the church beyond its lock.
Covered in snow it would creak and whine;
a portal positioned beneath arching pines.
In blinding sun and weathering rain,
It still swings open and calls my name.
Once in a dream I saw you there,
looking at me with your blue-eyed stare.
It was in a time when we were young,
before the lessons and lies, the sever and run.
In thunderous storm, standing wet in the grass,
You whispered and pleaded, said our love would last.
We left through that passage-way and promise no harm,
Then you let go of my hand, ripped me from your arms.
Child after child reached for its latch,
Until time and usage worn a dark smooth patch;
Not far from the place that once was my sill,
where I sang and wrote letters; I can see it all still.
With the chime of the church bells we’d run with guitars,
To lead and sing praise just steps from our yard.
Watching from windows out on that scene,
white birches, fiery maple, and seasons of green.
The band uniforms, gauze dresses, and football gear,
The singing, the gatherings and games played there.
The gate let us in, let us out; a revolving door,
until no one was left, it’s not ours anymore.
On that worn trodden path draped in gray and black,
empty and mournful in the last look back;
There’s my brother, my mother, my youthful love,
perched on the fence a chickadee, a cardinal, a cooing dove.
The stories that gate could sweetly tell,
of wishes and kisses and wedding bells;
Of a hundred goodbyes waved through smiling tears,
from the gate in our backyard over forty years.
~Stories That Gate Could Sweetly Tell, by Cynthia Currie