Home of my dreams

When they come and paint over the green and the blue,

When they fix the garage buttons we push, then dash out under the closing door,

When they take away our garden and fill in our pond,

When they nail down the squeaky boards, and cover them with tepid carpet,

When they take down our Siena flags that cover our windows,

When they put St. Augustine over the elderberry shoots,

Then will this still be our home?

They assume the house in St. Louis is the home of my dreams and congratulate me.

But I already live in the home of my dreams.

The whole house fan gently brings the warm, wet air of Houston in,

The ceiling fans stir it gently,

Nowadays it hardly ever smells of the sewage plants half a mile away,

Nowadays the petrochemical odors from the ship channel are usually muted.

From the home of my dreams we walk, half a mile to Bellaire, half a mile to Beechnut,

Another half to Bissonnet, or to Braeswood and the bayou,

A bit of green on this flat, over-built piece of land between the tracks and the freeway.

We save what we can for the birds – pecans, hackberries, yaupon,

We save what we can for the toads that Dalí hunts under the rocks around the pond,

We save what we can for the spiders webbing in the back bushes,

The squirrels, possums, and rats are on their own.

It is a flat, checkered grid the migrating birds are unlikely to welcome.

Today, the cowbird on the ground, the female grosbeak at the feeder,

Migration is on! And we can always return for it, to the public places,

Pitman park, Brazos Bend, Galveston, Houston Arboretum, Katy Prairie,

All far more valuable than this simple home with the fans.


About Joan E. Strassmann

Evolutionary biologist, studies social behavior in insects & microbes, interested in education, travel, birds, tropics, nature, food; biology professor at Washington University in St. Louis
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