Standing in shadows of
old trees on the sidewalk,
dense smoke of memories
assaults her senses.

Cumbersome gloom covers
this old neighborhood
like the dusty pelt of a stray dog,
reluctant murmur
of playground laughter
drifts out from alley openings.

Entranced by the old woman
sweeping the cement front porch,
the unneeded map
falls forgotten from her hand.

The broom stops when she moves
into the sunlight,
greeted by a smile of recognition;
another orphan has returned
for the answer.


brownstones (Photo credit: aka Kath)

Written for the Sunday Whirl.


Filed under Poetry, Poetry - Prompts

10 responses to “Answers

  1. The first stanza is compelling, and I love the welcome feeling the orphan’s arrival brings.

  2. Nice heartfelt write, Mark.


  3. Hi Mark! You have definitely shown well through your words the gloom of this neighbohood. The last two lines are exceptional!

  4. magicalmysticalteacher

    I notice that you invite constructive comments in your Welcome message, so I’m going to take a chance. I was a bit dismayed to read:

    Cumbersome gloom lays
    on this old neighborhood
    like the dusty pelt of a stray dog,

    Why dismayed? Because “lays” is the incorrect verb. It should be “lies.” To “lay” is to place an object, as in “She lays gloom on the neighborhood.” To “lie” is to recline, as in “Gloom lies on the neighborhood.”

    Feel free to delete my comment. You won’t hurt my feelings! Thanks for reading this far. I truly appreciate your work.

    • Thank you very much, I appreciate the comment. Combine rushing to post and a long time removed from basic grammar classes and I overlook flubs like this way too often. I would much rather have someone point it out to me than to continue to dismay others that may come by. 🙂 Thanks again.

  5. I did not need the photo of the brownstones to see this in my mind. While there were no orphans to return… it reminded me of my Grandparents neighborhood. Where daily one swept the brick steps and sidewalks hoping to map out a better future for the ones that followed. Nice write – thank you.

  6. Love the line about the unneeded map…gives a feeling of familiarity in that line alone…Nice!

    (Ok…based on your reply above to MMT, I’m hoping you’re like me and would want to know: last stanza, first word: She? or should it be “The” ?)

  7. Visual and enjoyable to read. Thank you- 🙂

Some of what I write is true, some is fiction; most is merely possibility.

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