The Divorced House

At the Greenwich Observatory once
I straddled the brass line in the courtyard
One foot East
One foot West
Heart at longitude 0°.
Felt familiar.

Walking around North Berkeley
I happened on a house bisected
Yellow on the right
Gray on the left.
Felt finely honed pain
wafting out the divorced house
East and West facing off at a meridian
running down the front and a short flight of stairs
Bright red on the right
Burgundy on the left.

Felt like the child going home
having to decide whether to enter
the door on the right
or on the left
To inhabit my father’s world
or my mother’s
Heart at longitude 0°.

Except home was one apartment
with one door
one kitchen and one bathroom.
One family
never divorced.

The mystery of the divided façade
of my parents’ marriage.
From the sidewalk across the street,
the halves conflict.
At close range
the shift across the line is not a chasm
but a shade easily traveled.

The line they drew between them
grew into a wall.
They lost sight of each other
talking to the wall
yelling across it.

I visit two cemeteries
bring flowers to two tombstones
balance on the line of compassion
Heart at longitude 0°.

Born in Perugia, Italy, a graduate of the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart (Milan, Italy) and of Mills College (Oakland, CA), Simona Carini writes nonfiction and poetry and has been published in various venues, both in print and online. She lives in Northern California with her husband and works as an academic researcher in Medical Information Science. www.simonacarini.com