Poem by Kelly Madigan

May 15, 2023

Sleeping in My Daughter's House

At the foot of the bed
is a cedar chest, one my grandmother
gave to me in my twenties.
Some called them hope chests,
packed them with staples needed
for setting up house. This is the child
that tried to come early, pinning
me to the orange floral couch
bought on payments from Sears, holding
still to delay her premature exit
from her first house. Ecology
comes from the Greek word for household,
where we live. My grandmother
wrote me letters when I was on bedrest,
telling me her news, sending her wish
that she could be beside me.
The baby came early, ready to start,
and later my grandmother left her house
for another, and we all visit the marker
and see to it there are flowers,
and my daughter, the seamstress, has 
grown and makes her own household now
with the music-maker, and they love the old
things, the quilts, the vinyl records.
It’s my first night sleeping in their new 
house, decades after she arrived with perfect 
timing, and Grandma Effie’s hope
is as solid as ever, an unshakable
cedar force right at my feet, able to store
everything needed to arrive here
and live your life.

About Kelly Madigan

Kelly Madigan is a writer with roots in both Iowa and Nebraska. She is an advocate for conservation in the Loess Hills and teaches creative writing workshops with an environmental focus through Larksong Writers Place.

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