People & Places

Young Writers Project: To your little house and home

Young Writers Project is a creative online community of teen writers, photographers, and artists, based in Vermont since 2006. Each week, VTDigger features the writing and art of young Vermonters who publish their work on youngwritersproject.org, a free, interactive website for youth 12-18 years old. To find out more, visit youngwritersproject.org, or contact Executive Director Susan Reid at sreid@youngwritersproject.org; 802-324-9538.

Artwork from YWP Media Library, a carving by Lola Squire.

Most of us recognize that time, by one definition or another, is our most precious resource. This week’s featured poet, Caroline Watts, based in Fairlee, recognizes its value through the affectionate relationship she shares with her grandmother, and pledges to one day carry on her life story through the annals of family memory.

To your little house and home

By Caroline Watts, 15, of Fairlee

Every day,
I’ll act like it’s the end.
As if it’s the last time I’ll speak to you.
I’ll write down each thing you say.
I’ll keep every circus ticket in a little book.
I’ll decorate it with your four-petal flowers and bind it with lemon-colored linen strips.
All because I don’t know when our final act begins.

You say it’s silly, how I treasure each of your mother’s trinkets,
but you forget that a few years ago, you were the one telling me to hold on.
Family history is relative.
You can never hear the same rendition,
whether gifted from a wise aunt
or coaxed from a long-lost father.
Heritage — it truly is a part of us, no matter how we may try to hide it.

The struggle we all face is humanity’s oldest adversary: time.
A fickle thing.
An ancient evil and yet still the reason your snapdragon petals bloom.
I’d ask you to stop changing, stop aging, stop becoming what I fear,
but there’s truly no point.
I know that.

So just hold your hands steady, stop stooping, remember to lock your door.
You go to sleep at 8 p.m., wake up at 2 a.m. or 9, never in between.
Portions shrink,
for both of us,
for different reasons.
I hold your ring in my hand as I watch the door.
I’m just soaking in your little house as if you’ll leave me tonight.

You’ll never see me with youth of my own.
I’ll tell them about you,
like you did with me.
I’ll tell them about your yellow-painted kitchen.
You had those little glass suncatchers that cast rainbows around the room.
Before your shoulders gave out, you grew runner beans and tomatoes.
You knew everyone in town.

I’ll tell them,
“I wish you could have met her.
She would have loved you.”
Like you told me about your grandmother.
I may never say these things out loud, which I will surely regret, but hear this:
I love you.
I will wish I could have met you more.


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