Four brick chimneys stand rooted to the ground like ancient trees.
Pillars of red bricks and yesterday’s paint,
blackened by years of use
mark the spot in this barren lot where a house once stood.
Birds are the only visitors now, perched high on the sooty squares
watching the wind ruffled grass dance at the base of the chimneys
and feeling the ghosts of who knows who once lived there.
Who was it that once gathered in the lounge on the rug
sharing stories while someone knitted in the old rocking chair
warmed by the rollicking orange flames?
Did children scurry off to bed where another fire
cosied them to slip out of day clothes
and into nightdresses?
When little sleepy eyes finally closed
did parents retreat to their warm chamber
to rest up before another day?
Who filled the early morning air with the smell of hot bread
and the comfort of good things to eat
splashing hot water into mugs of cocoa
while little backs warmed by the old black stove?
Then did someone leave the warm house
huddled inside a coat
taking the path to the old truck in the shed
to rumble out into another day?
And who came home each night
following wafting curling white whispers from the chimneys
that promised food and warmth
and best of all
promised that someone was home?