Teachers for Teachers | Slice of Life: I Hope They Will Know…
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Slice of Life: I Hope They Will Know…


Moving In Day

A car

In the driveway

A light

In the house

A face

In the window



It has stood empty




For eight months



He gets out of the car

We make eye contact

I know

I should walk over

I know

I should shake hands

I know

I should bring brownies.



How is he to know

The number of times I drive by

Expecting to see them home

The number of times I stop to pull a weed

And remember I no longer should

The number of times I head out to get a cup of sugar or an egg

And remember they are not there

The number of times I want to just be, silent, but present

And remember no one is home



How is he to know

The couch is where we planned our yearly trips

The disco ball hangs in the living room each year

The dining room can easily fit sixteen

The counter always has freshly baked cookies

The key to our house is on the wall

The downstairs’ freezer always has space

The snacks are stored in the side cabinet

The door is never locked

The kitchen is the best place to share, connect and laugh



How is he to know

He is moving into a house

That I practically lived in

How is he to know

He is moving into a house

That celebrated all of our birthdays

How is he to know

They were more than neighbors

How is he to know

He is moving into a house

That I consider a home



He walks up the first step

I wave, smile and get in my car

Today I will take time

To feel

To embrace

To make space


This house will be their home

I hope it brings the same joy

I hope they too will know.


Thank you to StaceyTaraDanaBetsyAnnaBeth, Kathleen, and Deb for this space for us to share our stories each day in March.  Be sure to visit Two Writing Teachers to read more Slice of Life posts and consider joining this community.

  • Jennifer Laffin
    Posted at 11:24h, 27 March Reply

    Oh Clare, this is so beautiful. I often think about the memories that a house holds and how it becomes almost like a member of the family. This slice is so perfect written as a poem. I just love it!


  • Fran
    Posted at 11:25h, 27 March Reply

    Simply fabulous, Clare! The circle of “I know” to “How is he to know” and then “I hope they too will know” tells your story! Your poetry is so perfectly YOU!

    • Clare and Tammy
      Posted at 17:35h, 27 March Reply

      Thanks Fran – you have inspired me to try new structures. Last year you told me I was slicing poetry – and that image has worked for me!

  • Lynne Dorfman
    Posted at 11:56h, 27 March Reply

    Well, you certainly did more than get poetry a try! It was quite beautiful and moving, Clare. Was this your mom’s home? It is a universal theme and tugs at our heartstrings. Leaving a house we called home, especially throughout our childhood, is very difficult. Even though we move on to new adventures, we feel that part of us was left behind in the rooms of that house. You almost start to think of the house as having feelings, too. I love the way you take us on a walk through the house and we imagine the dining room big enough to hold sixteen people, the key on the wall.

    I cannot tell you how many times I went back to Mt. Airy to drive past the house on Durham Street, or my grandparents’ home in Coopersburg, or my nana’s house on Lehigh Street. I love your final wish for the new family. Have you read the picture book, The Goodbye Walk by Joanna Ryder? It may be out of print, but if you can get a copy – I think you would love it! Happy holidays to you!

    • Clare and Tammy
      Posted at 17:37h, 27 March Reply

      Thanks Lynne – your poetry has inspired me to try new structures. This is about my neighbor’s house. We are dear friends and they moved to Memphis in July. I miss them every day. It is hard to see the house — a daily reminder.

  • Diane Dougherty
    Posted at 11:56h, 27 March Reply

    The structure of this poem draws me in…”I know”…”How is he to know’
    Homes are homes because of the people who inhabit them.
    Memories are memories because of the people who are in them.
    Thanks for sharing this poem. I loved reading it.

  • Kathleen Sokolowski
    Posted at 11:57h, 27 March Reply

    Clare, this is one of the most beautiful poems I ever read. All of those details about why the house was more than a house.., as we prepare to sell my grandma’s house, this rings so true. This poem is a treasure.

  • Rose
    Posted at 12:57h, 27 March Reply

    I love everything about this, Clare – the structure, the words, the way you wove “knowing” throughout. Your memories are strong and will always be there. I couldn’t help but wonder about what the house is thinking. Maybe its a little sad and nervous, too.

  • Kristy L
    Posted at 13:15h, 27 March Reply

    Fantastic job. I would think you do this poetry thing all the time! Thanks for sharing. 🙂

  • Linda Baie
    Posted at 13:35h, 27 March Reply

    Focusing on the now, then moving through the memories makes a powerful poem, Clare. I hope that new owner will soon know what a blessing the house will be for him, too. Perhaps in time you will let him know.

  • C.Crouch
    Posted at 13:57h, 27 March Reply

    I understand your feelings. I felt this way when our new neighbors moved in. I still haven’t brought myself to meet them. Your details about the couch, key, snacks make the house seem so warm and your friendship so close. You definitely had more than a neigbor.

  • Carrie H
    Posted at 16:46h, 27 March Reply

    This was beautiful to read. Full of so many emotions.

  • Carrie Gelson
    Posted at 17:09h, 27 March Reply

    This is so powerful. I read it in stops and starts. It made me connect to all kinds of times in my life and then I needed to go back again to your story. Certain lines have a million stories inside of them: “The dining room can easily fit sixteen”. You are such a writer Clare. It is such an experience to come here and read each day.

  • Christine Baldiga
    Posted at 00:50h, 28 March Reply

    I felt such emotion reading your poem. It was raw and fresh yet full of life. I could tell this place was filled with such memories of days long gone. How hard it is to move on.
    Thank you for sharing these wonderful words.

  • Mrs Surridge
    Posted at 01:11h, 28 March Reply

    Everything I wanted to say has already been written in the comments. This is an amazing poem AND story.

  • Marilyn
    Posted at 02:22h, 28 March Reply

    You must know my neighbors.

  • Amy
    Posted at 02:43h, 28 March Reply

    I felt like I was there with you Clare! I think you should frame this poem and give it as a gift to your friends! I bet they would love it! It’s a beautiful reminder of a place we call home, blessed to have such a place when many in the world don’t. Thanks for sharing your poetry.

  • Mandy Robek
    Posted at 03:25h, 31 March Reply

    I really like the structure you used here today. I felt rhythm and emotion with those line breaks. I do hope you took some brownies over and gave the new guy a chance.

  • Slice of Life: Studying Mentor Texts | Assessment in Perspective
    Posted at 10:57h, 12 April Reply

    […] goal for me during the March Slice of Life Challenge. I realize now that her writing inspired this poem and this narrative.  I love the mood and tone Carrie creates in her writing. It is calming and […]


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