Patrice Melnick

Creole House

I see a certain grace in the high ceilings and the wide cypress floorboards that run back and forth beneath my feet. Tall windows, flecks and bits in the wavering glass, thick-carved oak mantles, and there, shadows. Seasoned weatherboard overlap, ash-colored shingles shine like tongues, and when I stand in the yard, sink a shovel into the ground to plant a satsuma tree, I dig up a miniature cut glass tea cup, tiny iridescent bottles, shards of china, and green, black, blue chipped marbles that little girls played with beneath the house while their mamma scrubbed and polished the floor with anything she could find, in 1920, and their dad shoved more coal into the fireplace, and the chimney smoked and clouded the sky with faces while a small hand reaches up for the blue marble in my hand.