The House

© 2022 Accenti Image Bank

I’ve never visited Grace Street, but draft
an image from my mother’s stories. The brick
is brownish-yellow; a leafless skeleton
of ivy radiates in snow. Neighbour noises
leak into the front lawn—the rattle of a gate
rammed shut, followed by ma va fa’un
chicka-dee-dee-dee splitting through street,

trash and compost huddle on the curb. Slabs
of concrete escort you past roses choked out
by frost and capsizing into white grass, past
the blue birdhouse nailed to tree
by my great uncle who came here in fifty-nine,
past the screen door that’s often unlocked.
Inside, I have less to work with. There’s the red
bread knife my mother cut her knuckle with

when she was four, the couch slept on each summer
she visited. The oak shelves propping up a line
of Reader’s Digest. Embroidered pillows pilling
into furry rainbow. Upstairs, I conjure
my great aunt cramming clothes into a trunk, see
her sister-in-law at the bedroom door, hand curled
into cane. I’ve been told they don’t talk much,

but can imagine that every now and then words
flare up—

“Did you pack your stockings?”

“The House” is the Grand Prize Winner of the 2022 Accenti Poetry Contest. For details on next year’s contest, click here.

Antonia Facciponte is a Toronto-based writer. She is completing an MA in English Literature and Creative Writing at the University of Toronto. Her poems explore intergenerational familial experiences, cultural diaspora, and stories as salvation. Her first collection, To Make a Bridge (Black Moss Press, 2021), depicts grandchild-grandparent relationships in an Italian-Canadian family.

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