Margaret R. Sáraco


I walk through this musty old house

emptied by time and circumstance

breathe in stale, repulsive odors

of food decayed and leaching from

corroded containers on an old kitchen table

holding onto an unsteady handrail

I carefully climb the stairs

where shadows paint obscurities on the walls

stained outlines remain where pictures hung

the steps creak and groan

without rugs to cushion them

while the disappointed sun’s light

seeps through curtain-less windows

particles float in the air

disturbed by movement

lifeless bedrooms wait in stillness

uncovered floors

empty closets, doors ajar without beds,

books, lamps or clocks nothing marking time

to sleep or rise but dawn and dusk

a lone Eastern Box Turtle lingers in dried brown

yellowed Maple leaves in the front yard

far from water, Japanese Stilt-grass

pokes through the earth

overwhelming the abandoned lawn­

but he does not notice me, just stares at the house

where there is no longer food or commotion

and what of companionship?

the house, its grayed muted shadow

projected on a nearby two-dimensional brick

now a home without a heart

where love may have lost its way

I stand in the yard now

with the turtle in his domed carapace

together we stare at the old home

I want to pick him up

release him in a nearby field

but resist the urge

leaving him in his spot to keep watch

six-hundred feet from where he hatched



Margaret R. Sáraco’s writing has appeared in Peregrine Journal, Love Poems, Shalom: The Jewish Peace Letter, Write Like Your Alive, Montclair Write Group Sampler, Celebrating 60 Years of New Jersey Peace Action!,  and Italian Americans and the Arts & Culture. She has been a featured reader in Welcome the Sabbath Bride with Poetry and Song, Poetry U, The Art and Poetry of Teaching. Upcoming publications include The Paterson Literary Review, LIPS, and The Sports Issue.