A Home… Sometimes

By Kelly Grace Thomas


We spend our whole life looking for a place to belong,

a person to call home.

I spent so many seasons waiting on doorsteps.

Goosebumps and snow-soaked shoes.

Watching people step on leaves, as soon as their colors changed.


I always thought of you as a locked door,

all scratchy red brick and chains.

Eyes like doorknobs, heart like a peephole.  

In a hallways that smelled like a cold, vacuumed hotel,

I’ve spent months trying to look in.  

Knuckles blistered from hollow knocks with no reply.

On the other side of the door, I could hear the screams, held prisoner.

Captive in the closet.

Sliding doors covered in mirrored pain. It’s always easier to look out.  

Sometimes the cries would escape through the keyhole

like overboard feelings that didn’t know how to swim.

I wasn't strong enough to save them.


Sometimes, when the currents calmed, you would let me in.

Heated moments where whiskey unhinged your deadbolt,

tossing the keys you usually held so tight,

in one of those messy drawers

that held its hand over the mouth of secrets

that only needed air.


I thought of ways to untangle the knots that had started

before you learned to tie your shoes.


I was always like a house where someone left the front door open.

Let potential buyers tour the memories that decorated my doubt,

fed them mashed potatoes in my kitchen.

Spent hours making everyone comfortable,

but myself. 

I let strangers I thought I knew come in, rearrange pieces of me,

 drag furniture across my soul,

 until I no longer knew where I lived.

They looked under my bed, where I hid as a scared little girl,

 knowing it is impossible to outrun dark monsters

when dawn is defined by who decides to spend the night.  

Figured if I gave them a nightlight, in the shape of a heart, they might want to stay.


Sometimes on nights when we took off our masks,

held the honesty like treat or trick candy

that quickly disappeared, leaving clothes tight,  

hungry for more.

You and I would end up in the same room, looking around the house.

You with your padlocks, me with my nightlight.

And we would talk about how well we fit,

but only sometimes.