Recalling the Narrow Way
By Diane Elayne Dees
October 15, 2022
October 15, 2022
I think sometimes of my first “real” apartment,
a mere sliver of space on the second floor
of an old uptown New Orleans house.
A second-hand mustard-gold couch
that would have been right at home
on a Mad Men set was my treasure,
along with stereo equipment I bought
from an old-school geek who knew
how to turn my modest savings into sound.
A kitchen table, a used bookcase
and dresser, a mattress I bought
at an estate sale, a small television:
It all fit into a strip of afterthought
hidden from the city, quiet, no frills,
cheap rent, surrounded by huge oaks.
For years, I would live this way,
but in bigger spaces, and with new--
but spare—furnishings, not knowing
if I was minimalist by taste or paycheck.
Now, decades later, I still crave space,
I still hate clutter. But I also like rugs
and lamps and tables and art and plants
and glossy sound components.
I’m grateful for comfort and beauty,
yet—from time to time—I think of those days
when I lived in that elevated ribbon of space,
listening for the sound of my boyfriend running
up the stairs, knowing that there was just enough room
for him, and maybe Joni and the Airplane.
In such a tiny enclosure, there was no room
for bulky furniture or collections—no room
for mortgage payments and renovations,
no room for divorce, betrayal and hormonal collapse,
no room for aging and regrets, no room
for billowing curtains of suffocating grief.
It was the narrowest of spaces,
but there was always so much room
to just breathe.
Diane Elayne Dees is the author of the chapbooks, Coronary Truth (Kelsay Books) and The Last Time I Saw You (Finishing Line Press). Diane, who lives in Covington, Louisiana, also publishes Women Who Serve, a blog that delivers news and commentary on women’s professional tennis throughout the world. Her author blog is Diane Elayne Dees: Poet and Writer-at-Large.