“Home Again,” in the First Person
by Liz Scarlett Graham
The fire in the hearth has gone out, unattended. The room is cold and bluish grey with dark shadows in the cracks of the stones and low, lurking corners. Something was here but it is not anymore. It fell asleep, became neglectful, and abandoned the kitchen altogether.
But there are still, hidden among the broken pottery, cups from which I can drink. Pewter plates from which I can eat. Sweep away the soot, gather new wood, and start a fire in the long-forgotten hearth. Open the windows, the door, the chimney flue and let freshness flow through. Scrub the floor, draw water from the well and sort the dishware – take the cups that are broken, put them in a basket and smash them however I like. Save the pieces.
Clean that which is not broken and use it, right away. Find a place just outside the doorway and sit in the dirt, bringing my basket. Create a mosaic of broken clay and glass and porcelain on the ground, stamp it down, admire my new threshold.
A fire is crackling as I return inside, closing the windows. Firelight winks on my clean glasses, flutes and chalices. I heave a sigh and sit down in a spot that I may have sat in, once before, long ago. Sinking into my spot, for it is mine, I hear birds sing and feel the warmth of the burning logs on my hands and knees, where fingers rest like legs hanging over a dock.
The day was eventful and productive. I have done great work, brought to life something that was dead. I have revived this kitchen, this space. I have awakened a soul that was gone, but has at last returned. I am home again.