My mother lived on Balsam Road
with four siblings and a mound
of paper dolls, safe upon a chessboard
of kitchen tiles. The house sat
like a sugar cube with a tin hat.
Each morning her daddy vanished
through a flap in the sheet-metal
fence across the road to work
the docks at the rubber factory.
He returned and winnowed
the daylight in luminous gardens,
rectangles flanking the house.
Her mother’s eyes flashed pewter
in the kitchen window—she’d go
back and forth to the cavernous
can house, putting up jars for winter.