"A Room of My Own," a poem by Tim Pfau




A Room of My Own



Just three bedrooms, four boys and a daughter,

I, next chosen for a room of my own,

watched cinder block walls hem in a corner

of basement…slab ceiling, L-shaped doorway…


All done to Civil Defense building plans,

growing closer to water heater’s wealth,

steps from our freezer, the pantry’s stacked cans,

camping gear, floor hole for bodily wastes…


This was not built to give me privacy,

places to hide Playboys and cigarettes,

even though I appreciated both,

but as sunscreen to Hell’s coming fallout,


reliquary ramparts holding out death,

bones wrapped in stone and Dad’s love of life rafts,

romance born where one he cherished held him

between sky and the cold Pacific’s depths,


or under dark shelter from machine gun

fire sent by Japanese submariners.

Live seas were rare in Wyoming’s desert

but old sailors stood watches anyway


when hot Cuban winds brought spice scents of storms.

The floor was tiled tan, and walls plastered pink.





(Photo from EyeWitness to History.com. The poet's father is in the last row, 2nd from right.)



Tim Pfau returned to writing after working a career in other people's problems. He is a husband, father and grandfather who is former Board Member of the Oregon Poetry Association. His writing has appeared in newspapers, anthologies and journals in several countries. He tries to write semantic maps of experiences, knowing that the word is never the thing.

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