The Home (Sestina Poem)

Photo by Jan Koetsier on

The Home
Peering through the foggy window, it’s a peaceful home.
All signs point to a close and loving family.
The children, full of energy, laugh, play and fight.
The usual name calling and pushing leads to one of them falling down,
But a gentle kiss and a warm hug take the temporary pain away.
“Mom and Dad are superheroes! They are never scared!”

The mother grows fond of the bottle, the father grows scared.
“At least keep that shit hidden while the kids are home”
She puts the empty bottles in a bag and throws them away.
The kids race through the front door and everything is fine for the family.
The mother glances a “sorry” look to her husband as she puts the dinner plates
They kiss each other goodnight. Click goes the light switch. Click goes the fight.

Weeks pass, the bottle becomes second nature, and so does the fight.
She now drinks in the shadows because she is scared;
Scared to get caught and be forced to put the bottle down.
“Why does mommy act so funny after school when we get home?”
The father can’t answer the question without burdening his family.
Pushed under the rug, the problem remains. Just swept away.

With a bottle in hand, chaos lurks towards the front door as order turns away.
Flashing red and blue lights illuminate the streets; Illuminate the never-ending fight.
“Officer my wife, she has an addiction and needs help. She’s too dangerous to stay
with my family.”
Upstairs, pillows and blankets hide tear-covered faces. So alone. So scared.
Cuffed at the wrists. Cuffed to the bottle. She slowly walks from her once familiar
The unforgiving wind blows as she takes one last look from the car. She ducks her
head down.

Staring at her blank white walls, she realizes she let the ones she loves down.
The bottle had its hands around her neck and wouldn’t let her get away.
Once blinded by its effects, she now sees clearly that she has a new home.
Silence creeps into the walls. Tears indicate she has no strength left to fight.
The hallways echo the cries of lost battles. She’s scared.
Scared she will never leave. Scared she will lose her family.

What once was a strong bond has forever transformed into a different family.
All because the mother couldn’t put the bottle down.
All because the children grew scared.
All because the father made her go away.
Al because of that never-ending fight.

Peering through the foggy window, it’s a broken home.

The family embarks on different paths and drift away.
Guess the bottle was more important and worth the fight.
Scared so they sweep it under the rug, never to return home.

For those not familiar with Sestina poems, they are written with a pattern of repetition. The first six end-words in the first stanza follow through to the remaining six-line stanzas. It normally goes like this:
7. (envoi) ECA or ACE

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Sometimes we all just need someone to talk to. Someone to give us another perspective. Even just someone to get our mind off our problems for a little while. Sometimes we just need a friend.

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