I recall the basement in my childhood home as a space that had no limits: neither in darkness nor possibilities. Rainy winter afternoons my mother sent us down to play in the company of a bellowing furnace & rows of summer-canned cherries, saws & wrenches. A tiny bedroom wedged itself into a corner, and where the light eked in, a washer and dryer in perpetual spin. The solitary closet backed up into the earth, supported by concrete. Ledges appeared to lead off into underground caverns and I knew they didn't but believed otherwise. Something in me still believes that -- and in my dreams I venture beyond the army-surplus tent and mummy bags in search of something -- what? How much of memory is the product of one's manufactured imagination? My sisters and I drew chalk landscapes on the cement, cupid-hearts around the crush-of-the-moment.
When my mother sold the house, back in the early 1980's, I made one final descent into that underground vault after the last bit of belongings had been loaded into a truck, and found a stuffed toy monkey named Vincent abandoned, forgotten on the floor. I took him home with me, and a few years later he burned up in the Louisa Street apartment fire.
Last night in my dream I was back again, with a broom, sweeping and poking into all the corners, once more on the hunt.