By Choice, I Live Alone, poetry by Jackie Oldham at
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By Choice, I Live Alone

By Choice, I Live Alone

written by: Jackie Oldham


By choice, I live alone
in the house I dreamed of owning
as a child.

In the house of my dreams
I was going to host parties,
entertain my nieces and nephews
at sleepovers,

Show the world
and myself
that I was a

Loving, Capable,
Happy, Caring,
Responsible Woman.

I did those things,
but not in the ways
I thought I would.

I count on one hand
the dinners I hosted.

The silly times I had
with nieces and nephews
whose drawings and photos,
games and toys
still fill shelves and drawers
in hidden corners.

On the other hand
I count the brother
who died after living with me
for 7 years

The three dogs I gave
my heart, my soul,
and all hope of order to.

Their ghosts appear
in frayed carpets
and teeth marks in coffee tables.

The family members who moved
in and out of my house,
leaving half their possessions
for me to declutter long after
they were gone.

Now, I spend my days
trying to put my life in order.

Building libraries on every floor.
Converting space for music
and art that I create.

After 30 years, I want to host
One last party.

But who is left
to join me?



This poem was inspired by my current efforts to remake my home of 30 years into the home I originally envisioned. It is a daunting task to let go of my past identities, dreams, and desires.

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