Wednesday, July 17, 2019

The Butterfly Hours Memoir Project: MOVING (poem)

For 2019 I'm running a year-long series on my blog in which I share my responses to the writing assignment prompts found in THE BUTTERLY HOURS by Patty Dann.

I welcome you to join me, if you like! I've divided the prompts by month, and the plan is to respond to 3 (or so) a week. For some of these I may write poems, for others prose. The important thing is to mine my memory. Who knows where this exploration will lead?

For links to the prompts I've written on so far this year, please click on The Butterfly Hours tab above. 

This month's prompts include: mail, moon, mouse, moving, museum, music, music lesson, name, necklace, neighbor, nightgown.


Our family moved A LOT. The year I turned 14 my father decided (or someone decided for him) that it was time to change jobs – a decision that would require my 9th move. (My father worked in hospital administration, and due to politics and personality conflicts and power grabs, those jobs are notoriously short-lived.) It came down to two possibilities: Birmingham, Alabama or Bangor, Maine. Although what I really wanted was to stay in Folsom where I was (at-last!) secure (I even arranged with a friend's family for me to live with them, but of course my parents didn't go for that!), I was rooting for Maine. (Like my father, I have an appreciation and fascination for extreme locations.) But, for whatever reasons, the decision was made for Birmingham. And so my life was made – or, so I made my life. I don't have any regrets, of course. I love my life. But I do wonder: who might I have become if our family had moved instead to Maine? I think I'll write a book about it. :)

Moving Day

Mama packs
us into the van

as Papa's camera
clicks one last picture
of the house –

say goodbye,
Mama instructs.

But how do you
say goodbye
to the sky?

- Irene Latham


  1. Great poem, Irene.
    So many moves! (It would be interesting to read about Maine-Irene!) xo

  2. There was a time when my father was studying ultrasound that we talked about moving to Birmingham for his training. We visited and it was all so strange. But what if? Would we have met before? He ended up going to Philadelphia for a month and we got a 2 week vacation out of it. I hated Philadelphia, but I was 12 and hated most things.


Your thoughts?