I write because I’m able to dispense any of my anxieties onto paper instead of keeping them buried. When I first dealt with my medical emergency in verse, I was relieved to get that experience on paper.
Norma Kilgore, pictured above, participated in our workshops at Oregon Burn Center at Legacy Emanuel Medical Center for burn, wound and trauma survivors and their families. Her piece below, “The Porch,” was published in our Fall 2018 anthology of community writing, Awake in Waves.
by Norma Kilgore
As I think back to my childhood home, I see the house on the five or so acres. It had all the characteristics of a farm. Every year we would plant that huge garden with every variety of vegetable, flower and gourd. There were chickens, geese, fruit trees. The family dog. A large black walnut tree stood in the front yard. It was a challenge for all of us children to climb up it and not fall down. The porch of the house was completely covered with a concrete floor and a two-person hanging swing. The two big windows were draped inside with lace curtains my grandma made. It was shelter from the blazing hot sun, yet provided a shady, cool place when a breeze would stir up. It was a retreat and protection from rain, when a dark storm cloud passed, needing to release a temporary downpour.
Most of all, it had my favorite feature: my grandpa’s old wooden rocker. That’s where you’d find him on summer days after his chores were done. I’d find a way to wiggle onto his lap, as he sat and listened to a small radio tuned to his favorite sport, baseball. He’d sit there and listen for hours; and most times, I would partially wrap my arms around him and fall asleep. In recent years, I’ve gone to visit the place where my old home stood. There is a metal railing and I look down to see the six-lane highway below.