A Yellow House in Iredell County

A poem — to immortalize a love worth telling and a house that carries their memories in its heart

Mamaw and Pop pictured there in the center. Their love, the family, and the home they built together are the inspiration behind this poem.

Nestled… in the dappled Spring sunlight 
peeking through oaks, maples, and Tulip poplar 
is a country house with pale-yellow siding.
Across a corner of the weathered 
wooden-slatted front porch, a vine lazily 
stretches to find a spot in the sun.
 
Inside, the navy-blue carpet runner slinks 
up the beautiful wooden stairs that 
Pop built with bony-knuckled, work-deep hands. 
He’d have worked quietly, smiling as he thought
of the lovely young lady with the yellow flower
behind her ear, that caught him by the heart 
some fifty years past. At the wane of her 
she rang the bell, a silver tinkling call.
He shuffled to her bedside, leaned close.
“Pop, will you hold my hand?”
 
The front parlor is very much the same; 
an old-fashioned sitting room 
with milk-cream white, antique furniture, perched 
on mahogany clawed feet, elegance immutable, 
unmoved. A portrait of my young mother 
hangs there on the wall in ornate frame,
her eyes the foremothers to mine.

Arising there, a China cabinet, its gifts enclosed in a hug.
Atop a pedestal table, hand-sanded and love-stained, 
Mom’s Christmas cactus trails and cascades in forest greens
awaiting pink-winged petals, alighting in season,
a crescendo of bloom framed in autumn-light 
meandering through remembrance like a dream.
Mamaw’s spirit lingers there, her high-bubbled laugh 
carrying on like a song, her quiet dignity still holding 
together the air that holds up this house. 
In the kitchen she makes her list, there at oval
table; the names of all the children she loves.
Do you see her sitting there?
 
There are so many children here now.
 Pop would have snagged them one by one 
with a devilish grin, with navy-socked feet 
smelling of sweat and dust, and of the garden
where his watermelons juiced and plumped
on the vine. Wriggling, giggling children
were no match for the snare of Pop’s feet.
His tender chuckle rolls quietly by on the wind. 
 
Presently, titmouse and chickadee
swoop down from the trees to gather black
sunflower seeds, meal worm, and millet;
their warbling chatter and brief staccato chirps
a cacophony of tales wrapping a yellow 
house in Iredell County with enduring 
melodic memory. At night, a yellow house 
sleeps with a smile.


Thank you for reading A Yellow House in Iredell County.

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